October 2, 2011 / 10:06 AM / 8 years ago

Iraq civilian deaths in Sept second lowest this year

BAGHDAD, Oct 2 (Reuters) - The number of civilians killed by violence in Iraq dropped to 110 in September from 155 in August, the second lowest toll so far for 2011, according to health ministry figures released late on Saturday.

In May this year 102 civilians were reported killed, the lowest figure so far in 2011.

Violence has dropped sharply since the height of Iraq’s sectarian conflict in 2006-2007, but killings and attacks still happen almost daily as U.S. troops prepare to withdraw more than eight years after the invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.

The number of Iraqi police killed declined to 42 in September from 45 in August, while 33 soldiers were killed in September, down from 39 the previous month, according to figures from the interior and defence ministries.

The ministries said 132 civilians, 105 police officers and 82 soldiers were wounded in September attacks.

On Friday, at least 18 people were killed and 63 wounded when a large car bomb exploded among mourners crowding into a Shi’ite funeral in the city of Hilla south of Baghdad.

On September 12, gunmen killed 22 Shi’ite pilgrims in an ambush in the west Sunni heartland Province of Anbar.

Two days later a car bomb targeting a popular restaurant killed 15 people and wounded 46 more in the southern Shi’ite city of Hamza south of Baghdad.

As U.S. troops pack up to leave, Iraqi officials say local armed forces are capable of containing Sunni Islamist insurgents tied to al-Qaeda and radical Shi’ite militias. But the government is debating whether some U.S. troops should stay on as trainers past the 2011 withdrawal. (Writing by Aseel Kami; Editing by Michael Roddy)

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