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Death toll down for U.S. troops, Iraqi civilians in October

  • Story Highlights
  • October death toll of 13 U.S. troops marks second-lowest monthly total of war
  • Official says 278 civilian deaths are likely fewest since 2006 mosque bombing
  • Official says 22 Iraqi police and 18 soldiers killed in October
  • Six of October U.S. deaths in noncombat incidents, Pentagon says
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The U.S. monthly troop death toll in Iraq is down by almost 50 percent so far in October, a sign of growing security gains across the nation.

There have been 13 U.S. troop deaths in Iraq, compared with 25 in September. It is the second-lowest monthly troop death toll in the war, with July the lowest at 11.

At the same time, the monthly Iraqi civilian death toll also dropped in October, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official said.

Listing figures from the Interior, Health and Defense ministries, the official said 278 civilians were killed and 464 wounded this month, compared with 359 killed and 705 wounded in September.

The official said it is likely the lowest monthly civilian death toll since the February 2006 bombing of Al-Askariya Mosque in Samarra, an event that caused widespread sectarian warfare.

Twenty-two police were killed and 64 were wounded in October, compared with 56 killed and 145 wounded in September. Eighteen soldiers were killed and 40 were wounded, compared with 26 killed and 41 wounded in September.

Of the 13 Americans killed in October, six died in noncombat incidents and seven in hostilities. Of the 11 in July, five died in noncombat incidents and six in hostilities.

A U.S. military official called the "downward trend" for the fatalities "a positive indication of the increased security throughout the country."

However, he cautioned, "We do not judge the success of our operations based on casualties or deaths. Coalition forces are focused on bringing stability and security to the people of Iraq."

Army Gen. David Petraeus, who oversaw the 2007 influx of 31,000 additional U.S. troops to Iraq, has been credited with helping reduce the violence in Iraq.

Petraeus on Friday assumed control of the U.S. military's Central Command, which includes not only Iraq but also Afghanistan.

All About Iraq WarU.S. Armed ForcesDavid Petraeus

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