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The number of attacks against coalition troops, Iraqi security forces and civilians increased 29 percent in 2005, and insurgents are increasingly targeting Iraqis, according to military statistics released Sunday.

Insurgents launched 34,131 attacks last year, up from 26,496 the year before, the data show.

USA Today quoted coalition spokesman Brig. Gen. Donald Alston as saying that insurgents are widening their attacks to include Iraqi forces engaged in fighting.

Force protection has improved, the report indicates.

In 2004, 714 U.S. troops were killed in action and 673 last year, despite the increase in attacks. The number of wounded dropped 26 percent, from 7,990 to 5,939 during the same period. The U.S. military attributes that to an increase in effectiveness in protecting its forces against roadside bombs and other attacks.

In a December videoconference from Iraq with Pentagon reporters, Maj. Gen. William Webster said that 10 percent of the attacks against U.S. forces cause casualties, down from about 25 percent to 30 percent a year ago.

The statistics also reveal that the number of car bombs more than doubled to 873 last year from 420 the year before. The number of suicide car bombs went to 411 from 133.

There was a large jump in suicide bombers wearing vests; 67 attackers wore suicide vests last year, up from just seven in 2004. Suicide and car bombs are often targeted at Iraqis, causing high casualties.

Roadside bombs, or improvised explosive devices in military parlance, continue to be the most common weapon. Roadside bombs increased to 10,953 in 2005 from 5,607 the year before.

Those numbers include roadside bombs that are discovered and defused. These bombs account for nearly one-third of all insurgent attacks.


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