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Up to 18 deaths of soldiers in February may have been suicides, which if confirmed would continue an unwelcome trend, the Army said Thursday.
The report follows a spike in January, when 24 soldier suicides or suspected suicides were reported. Twelve of those have now been confirmed and the other 12 are still being investigated, the Army said.
Suicide data normally is released annually, but the large increase in January led the Army to start putting the numbers out on a monthly basis.
In 2008 the Army recorded 143 suicides, or 20.2 per 100.000 soldiers, the highest number since the service began keeping data in 1980.