Three U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq: military

BAGHDAD – Three U.S. soldiers were killed by small arms fire during operations in Iraq’s northern Salahuddin province on Wednesday, the U.S. military said.

The military said in a statement that two other soldiers were wounded in the incident.

The deaths took the number of U.S. soldiers killed so far in January to at least 19. A total of 23 soldiers were killed in the whole month of December.

U.S. and Iraqi forces last week launched a major new offensive against al Qaeda militants in Iraq’s northern provinces of Diyala, Salahuddin, Kirkuk and Nineveh.

The U.S. military says it has killed at least 60 militants in the offensive. Thirteen U.S. soldiers have died since the launch of the operation.

In the single deadliest incident, six soldiers were killed inside a house rigged with explosives in Diyala province.

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