Iraq death toll exceeds 700 in February: U.N.

BAGHDAD Sat Mar 1, 2014 12:23pm EST

Municipal workers clean up the site of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's Karaada district February 26, 2014. REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani

Municipal workers clean up the site of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's Karaada district February 26, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Thaier al-Sudani

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - More than 700 people died in violence in Iraq in February, not including nearly 300 reported deaths in western Anbar province, where security forces have been battling Sunni Muslim rebels since January, the United Nations said on Saturday.

The world body said local authorities had recorded 298 civilian deaths in Anbar, but that it could not confirm the figures independently due to the chaos in the desert region.

Outside Anbar, the bloodshed was worst in Baghdad, where 239 civilians were killed, followed by Salahuddin province to the north with 121 dead. A total of 1,381 people were wounded.

The United Nations said it had confirmed 703 deaths in Iraq in February, compared to 733 in January, excluding Anbar.

The figures suggest that violence has not abated since 2013 when 7,818 civilians were killed. That was Iraq's deadliest year since 2008, when the civilian death toll stood at 6,787.

The bloodshed remains below the levels seen in 2006 and 2007 when sectarian Shi'ite-Sunni killings reached their peak.

Insecurity worsened dramatically in April when troops and police forcibly cleared a Sunni protest camp north of Baghdad, killing dozens of protesters, most of them unarmed.

The bloodshed sparked widespread clashes pitting Sunni fighters against the Shi'ite-led government and marked the start of a relentless bombing campaign by al Qaeda-linked militants against mostly Shi'ite targets.

The growing power of Sunni militants, who have profited from the civil war in neighboring Syria, prompted Prime Minister Nuri Maliki to order an offensive in western Anbar in December.

The United Nations told Iraqis the only way they could stop the violence was by bridging their differences. Iraq's political elite remains deeply divided along sectarian lines.

"The political, social and religious leaders of Iraq have an urgent responsibility to come together in the face of the terrorist threat that the country is facing," U.N. special representative to Iraq Nickolay Mladenov said in a statement.

(Reporting By Ned Parker; Editing by Alistair Lyon)

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Comments (3)
jkielar wrote:
Gee, I wonder if all those innocent civilians that died and those that will die each month were once glad that Bush stpped in and helped them out?

Mar 01, 2014 12:47pm EST  --  Report as abuse
disengage wrote:
Iran is controlling what is happening in Iraq today. Some Iraqis are fighting for their country, for it to not become like Lebanon, a lost state controlled , by strings pulled by Iran. I say brave Iraqis, go visit Iran, make Iran pay for their visits into your countries. Make the price for their meddling to high, for them to continue destroying your countries. Killing fellow Iraqis, just continues to play to the Iranian scenario. Take your fight to Iran.

Mar 01, 2014 2:42pm EST  --  Report as abuse
jrpardinas wrote:
This is ultimately the work of the Sunni Arab autocrats in the Gulf.

They are the ones arming, provisioning and underwriting the movement of what amounts to a Foreign Legion of fundamentalist fanatics.

Saudi Arabia, in particular, is the festering sore from which, like pus, all global Sunni Muslim terrorism oozes.

The degree to which these Medieval characters in the Gulf coordinate these activities with the American State Department cannot definitely be said. But, I’m willing to wager that covert consent, and even facilitation, is not too far-fetched.

Mar 01, 2014 4:55pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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