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Two American soldiers have been killed in central Iraq, the military said on Friday, reporting the first fatalities since June, the deadliest month for American forces in the country for three years.

The deaths came as the top US military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, confirmed Washington is negotiating to keep some troops in Iraq beyond a scheduled year-end pullout, and accused Iran of direct support for extremists he said were killing the soldiers.

“Two US service members were killed Thursday while conducting operations in central Iraq,” said a brief statement by the military, which did not mention how or where they had died.

In June, 14 American soldiers were killed in Iraq, most of theme in rocket attacks, making it the deadliest month since June 2008 when there were 23 fatalities.

Thursday’s deaths raise the full number of American military fatalities in Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion to 4,471, according to an AFP count based on the website www.icasualties.org.

About 46,000 US soldiers remain in Iraq, down from a high of 170,000 since the invasion, which toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.

Source: AFP

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Two American soldiers have been killed in central Iraq, the military said on Friday, reporting…