BAGHDAD -- Ten U.S. servicemen were killed in Iraq in four separate incidents yesterday, while bombs, mortar attacks and bullets killed at least 71 Iraqis.
U.S. military fatalities had reached 2,918, as of last night, according to the icasualties.org, a Web site that tracks military deaths in Iraq. That total includes the announcement yesterday that a U.S. soldier stationed in Baghdad was killed during combat Sunday.
About 50,000 Iraqi civilians have died in the same period, according to Iraq Body Count, an independent group that bases its tally on media reports.
U.S. military officials released few details about yesterday's military fatalities. U.S. Army spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher C. Garver attributed the unusually high number of fatalities to "a confluence of unfortunate events."
"It's unusual, but it's not linked to anything specific," Garver said. "Losing even one soldier is too many."
The U.S. deaths marked the highest single-day total since Oct. 17, when 11 U.S. servicemen were killed. This month, 29 U.S. troops have been killed, compared with 70 in all of November.
In Baghdad, where U.S. and Iraqi forces have been waging a campaign to stem fighting between Shiites and Sunni Arabs, Iraqi police reported finding 45 bullet-riddled corpses. Many of the victims had been tortured before being executed, police officials said.
At least 15 Iraqis were killed and 25 wounded by a bomb that exploded near a Defense Ministry building in central Baghdad, U.S. military officials said.
Three people were killed and a dozen were wounded when a man detonated an explosive vest inside a minibus in Sadr City, a densely populated Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad.
Iraqi police also reported the deaths of two school officials. Gunmen killed a school principal in the Jihad neighborhood in southwest Baghdad and a Higher Education Ministry security official and his bodyguard in the Mansour neighborhood in west Baghdad.
The deaths of the education officials followed threats by insurgents who distributed pamphlets this week vowing to kill students and teachers who continued to attend classes.
In Khalis, a town outside Baqubah, a car bomb and a drive-by shooting killed three people and wounded four others in front of a hospital building. The blast caused a temporary power outage at the hospital, U.S. military officials said.
In Hawija, a city 40 miles southwest of the oil hub of Kirkuk, insurgents fatally shot a police captain, said Capt. Farhad Rasheed of the Kirkuk police.
In the southern port city of Basra, Iraqi authorities found the body of a police officer, which showed signs of torture.
U.S. military officials announced the deaths of two "security detainees" at two U.S. detention facilities yesterday. One detainee died at a holding facility in Camp Bucca on Monday, a military statement said.
"The detainee had been admitted to the hospital Nov. 17 and has been under constant medical care for kidney and heart problems," the statement said. "He was still under medical care at the time of his death."
The other detainee died Saturday at Camp Cropper, a U.S. detention facility in the Baghdad area, military officials said. That detainee was admitted to a hospital Nov. 27 after suffering what was described as a minor heart attack. The detainee suffered a more serious heart attack Nov. 30, a military statement said, and developed an abnormal heart rhythm.
Late last month, two other detainees died, one at Bucca and the other at Cropper. U.S. military officials said those detainees died of natural causes.
Meanwhile, the genocide trial of Saddam Hussein continued inside the fortified International Zone yesterday, with Kurdish witnesses testifying that the deposed president and his aides ordered poison gas attacks and execution squad killings during the Anfal military campaign in Kurdistan in 1987.
Hussein is appealing a death sentence imposed after his conviction in the executions of 148 Shiites from the town of Dujail after an attempt on his life.
Solomon Moore writes for the Los Angeles Times.