By Associated Press
April 30, 2004, 2:39 PM EDT
WASHINGTON -- Asked how many American troops have died in Iraq, the Pentagon's No. 2 civilian estimated Thursday the total was about 500 -- more than 200 soldiers short.
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was asked about the toll at a hearing of a House Appropriations subcommittee. "It's approximately 500, of which -- I can get the exact numbers -- approximately 350 are combat deaths," he responded
"He misspoke," spokesman Charley Cooper said later. "That's all."
American deaths Thursday were at 722 -- 521 of them from combat -- since the start of military operations in Iraq last year, according to the Department of Defense.
Wolfowitz, an architect of the military campaign in Iraq, was responding to questions from Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, on the costs of the war.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat last May 1, 582 U.S. soldiers have died -- 410 as a result of hostile action.
April has been the deadliest month so far, with more than 100 killed and some 900 wounded amid a sharp rise in violence.
Kaptur asked Wolfowitz the question after he told the committee that U.S. authorities were working to train and equip Iraqi forces so they can one day take over their own security.