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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 March, 2005, 15:17 GMT
US display marks 1,500 war dead
The coffins of US soldiers killed in Iraq
Dozens of soldiers have died every month in Iraq
Portraits of nearly all of the 1,500 US troops killed in Iraq are going on display at a New York state university.

The pictures, mostly painted by art students, stare down from a 60m (200ft) wall at Syracuse University.

"It's not about the war or politics. It's about these people who have given their lives," said Stephen Zaima, a professor at the university.

According to AP news agency, the number of US servicemen and women killed in Iraq reached 1,500 on Thursday.

However, domestic US support for the war appears to have been buoyed by the success of Iraq's elections in January.

A New York Times/CBS News poll released on Thursday said 53% felt efforts to bring order to Iraq were going well, up from 41% a month ago.

He had warm, understanding eyes and a very sweet expression
Elena Peteva

The 1500th US casualty was a marine killed by insurgents in Babil province, just south of Baghdad, on Wednesday, AP reported.

AP said its tally of 1,500 included 1,140 who had died as a result of hostile action.

It said 1,362 military personnel had died since 1 May 2003, when US President George W Bush declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq following the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime.

The tally matched those calculated by CNN and the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count website.

The US military releases its own total only occasionally.

Grey panels

The New York exhibition, called To Never Forget: Faces of the Fallen, includes portraits of 1,483 American service personnel.

The 13cm x 18cm (5in x 7in) images have been created using pencil, ink, oils, water colours, prints, and computer design.

The images are based mainly on internet photographs.

Some of the exhibition's panels have been left grey, where there was no photo available on which to base a painting.

One of the artists, Elena Peteva, a graduate student from Sofia, Bulgaria, said her subject, naval officer John D House, died in a helicopter crash a month after his son was born on Christmas Eve.

"He had warm, understanding eyes and a very sweet expression. I know he would have made a good father," she said.

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