Over 1,000 Iraqis killed in July, highest monthly toll since 2008: U.N.

BAGHDAD Thu Aug 1, 2013 7:44am EDT

A man stands at the site of a car bomb attack in the city of Kut, 150 km (93 miles) southeast of Baghdad, July 29, 2013. REUTERS/Jaafer Abed

A man stands at the site of a car bomb attack in the city of Kut, 150 km (93 miles) southeast of Baghdad, July 29, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jaafer Abed

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - More than 1,000 Iraqis were killed in sectarian violence in July, the highest monthly death toll since 2008, the United Nations said on Thursday, as Sunni Islamist groups stepped up their insurgency against Iraq's Shi'ite-led government.

Most of the 1,057 victims were civilians, killed in a relentless campaign of bombings and shootings that some Iraqis fear could drag the country into another war.

"We haven't seen such numbers in more than five years, when the blind rage of sectarian strife that inflicted such deep wounds upon this country was finally abating," Gyorgy Busztin, acting UN envoy to Iraq, said in a statement.

He called on Iraqi leaders to take immediate and decisive action to stop the "senseless bloodshed" and prevent a return to the "dark days" of 2006-07, when the number of people killed per month sometimes exceeded 3,000.

In recent years violence has fallen and a steady rise in oil production has made the country richer, but the conflict in neighboring Syria has inflamed sectarian tensions across the region and invigorated Sunni insurgents in Iraq, including al Qaeda.

July's toll brought the number of people killed in militant attacks since the start of the year to 4,137.

The worst affected governorate was Baghdad, where 238 people were killed in July, followed by Salahuddin, Nineveh, Diyala, Kirkuk and Anbar.

Many of these provinces are dominated by the country's Sunni minority, which deeply resents Shi'ite ascendancy since the U.S.-led invasion that vanquished Saddam Hussein in 2003. Sunnis there have been holding anti-government protests for months.

Iraq's deteriorating security was highlighted last week when hundreds of convicts ran free after simultaneous attacks on two high-security prisons, raising questions about the ability of the security services to combat al Qaeda.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which was formed earlier this year in a merger between al Qaeda's affiliates in Iraq and Syria, claimed responsibility for the jail breaks.

(Reporting by Raheem Salman; Writing by Isabel Coles; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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Comments (2)
kopasetic wrote:
This is the reason that so many Iraquis were killed during the time when the US was there as well. Very tired of the misinformed low information minions claiming that the US was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iraquis. This killing was going on then and we just got in the way for much of the time.

Aug 01, 2013 10:38am EDT  --  Report as abuse
hallsway wrote:
It’s time to stop using Western logic when dealing with Middle East Muslim countries… until Islam moves out of the Middle Ages.

Aug 01, 2013 10:50am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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