The story

The U.S. military is expressing hope that the recent troop buildup in Iraq is making strides as commanders point to the American death toll in the war zone -- the lowest monthly total since November.

As of Wednesday, 77 U.S. troops were killed in July, a striking drop from earlier this year when spring brought the worst three-month period for U.S. troop deaths since the war began: 104 in April, 126 in May and 101 in June.

"Any time you are talking about coalition forces being safe, we gladly welcome that and hope to see it continue as a trend, that due to our operations the level of violence and level of attacks against coalition forces goes down," said U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, according to Reuters. Read full article »

Reuters contributed to this report.

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