Iraq June monthly toll one of highest since U.S. exit

BAGHDAD Sun Jul 1, 2012 11:18am EDT

A burnt vehicle is removed from the site of a bomb attack, which killed Shi'ite pilgrims who were making their way to a religious festival, in Baghdad June 13, 2012. REUTERS/Saad Shalash

A burnt vehicle is removed from the site of a bomb attack, which killed Shi'ite pilgrims who were making their way to a religious festival, in Baghdad June 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Saad Shalash

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BAGHDAD (Reuters) - June was one of the bloodiest months in Iraq since U.S. troops withdrew at the end of last year, with at least 237 people killed and 603 wounded mainly in bomb attacks, a tally by Reuters showed on Sunday.

Official government figures put last month's toll at 131 killed and 269 wounded, although Reuters and Health Ministry casualty estimates often vary. Reuters compiled its figures based on reports from police, health and security sources.

The peak in violence last month was on June 13 when more than 75 people were killed in bombings and attacks in Baghdad and other cities, mainly targeting Shi'ite pilgrims.

Sunni insurgents often attack Shi'ite targets to try to reignite the sectarian violence that killed tens of thousands of people in 2006-2007. Iraq's al Qaeda wing has claimed some of the recent bombings against Shi'ites.

The government's Sunni, Shi'ite and ethnic Kurdish parties have been locked in a series of political battles since the withdrawal of U.S. troops in December, threatening to shatter their delicate power-sharing agreement.

According to the Health Ministry, 85 civilians, 26 policemen and 20 soldiers were killed in June.

(Reporting by Kareem Raheem; writing by Aseel Kami; editing by David Stamp)

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