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U.S. military commanders in Iraq say Iranian-made weaponry is killing American troops there at an unprecedented pace, posing new dangers to the remaining forces and highlighting Tehran’s intensifying push to gain influence over post-U.S. Iraq.

June was the deadliest month in more than two years for U.S. troops, with 14 killed. In May, the U.S. death toll was two. In April, it was 11. Senior U.S. commanders say the three primary Iranian-backed militias, Kataib Hezbollah, the Promise Day Brigade, and Asaib al Haq, and their rockets were behind 12 of the deaths in June.

A detailed U.S. military breakdown of June’s casualties illustrates the growing threat posed by Iranian munitions.

Military officials said six of the 14 dead troops were killed by so-called “explosively formed penetrators,” or EFPs, a sophisticated roadside bomb capable of piercing through even the best-protected U.S. vehicles. Five other troops were killed earlier in the month when a barrage of rockets slammed into their base in Baghdad. It was the largest single-day U.S. loss of life since April 2009, when a truck bomb killed five soldiers. The remaining three troops killed in June died after a rocket known as an “improvised rocket-assisted mortar,” or IRAM, landed in a remote U.S. outpost in southern Iraq.

Source: Yochi J. Dreazen for National Journal.

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