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Three U.S. troops killed in southern Iraq

BAGHDAD, June 30 (UPI) -- Three U.S. military personnel died in Iraq, adding to a grim monthly total just six months before U.S. troops withdraw from the country, the military said.

The deaths in southern Iraq occurred Wednesday but were reported Thursday by the Defense Department, The Washington Post said.

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Fifteen U.S. troops were either killed or died in non-hostile incidents this month in Iraq, making it the deadliest month since 15 were killed in June 2009, reported iCasualties, which tracks U.S. military deaths.

So far in 2011, 39 U.S. service personnel have died in Iraq.

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Officials attributed the upsurge in casualties to rocket or mortar attacks on U.S. bases by Shiite militias, The New York Times reported. American convoys also have come under increasing threat from roadside bombs.

Elsewhere, an Iraqi soldier, a train conductor and his assistant were injured in a multiple-bomb blast aboard a luggage train traveling from Baghdad to Salahal-Din province Thursday, Aswat al-Iraq news agency reported.

"Three explosive charges blew off inside a luggage train on its way from Baghdad to Salahal-Din province in the Dujeil area on Thursday," causing the train to overturn, seriously injuring the conductor and his assistant, a railway spokesman said. A fourth charge detonated after an army patrol arrived to investigate, wounding a soldier.

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Aswat al-Iraq also reported failed assassination attempts were made on a colonel in Iraq's Interior Ministry and a high-ranking official in the Baghdad Traffic Police Wednesday.

Police said Interior Department official Mohammed Abdul-Reza was injured in the failed assassination attempt in Baghdad's Ur district. Officials said Traffic Police official Abdul-Majid Abdul-Hussein was the target of an unsuccessful assassination attempt in an attack in west Baghdad's Police Tunnel.

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