A U.S. soldier killed in Iraq Thursday was the first in 43 days, the longest stretch since the war began, USA Today reports
. It came as the military is intensifying its withdrawal from Iraq, where President Obama has said combat missions will cease at the end of 2010. All of the remaining 112,000 U.S. troops are expected to leave the country by 2011.
Spc. David A. Croft Jr., 22, of Plant City, Fla., died Tuesday in Baghdad when his unit was attacked with a makeshift bomb and small-arms fire. Roadside bombs are the number one cause of deaths for U.S. forces.
Combat deaths have fallen since Gen. David Petraeus launched a counterinsurgency strategy in 2007 backed by tens of thousands of additional U.S. troops. Many militants also turned against other militants, accepting jobs as security guards for the military and the Iraqi government. Petraeus said there were at least 200 insurgent attacks a day in mid-2007, but that the number is now around 15.