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Iraq civilian deaths at highest level since January

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Fri, 1 Jul 2011 12:53 GMT
Author: Reuters
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BAGHDAD, July 1 (Reuters) - The number of civilians killed in violence in Iraq rose to 155 in June, the highest monthly level since January, according to government figures released on Friday.

The Health Ministry's June toll of killings in bombings and other attacks compared with 102 in May. In January, 159 civilians were killed.

Deaths of Iraqi police rose to 77 in June, the highest level this year, while 39 soldiers were killed, the highest toll since March, figures from the interior and defence ministries showed.

In May, 45 police officers and 30 soldiers were killed.

The ministries said 192 civilians, 150 police officers and 112 soldiers were wounded in June attacks.

Violence in Iraq has dropped sharply from the height of sectarian fighting in 2006-07, but attacks against Iraqi and U.S. security forces appear to be rising as the United States prepares to fully withdraw by end-December, more than eight years after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

June marked the deadliest month for American troops in three years as 14 U.S. service members were killed in hostile incidents.

At least 23 people were killed and scores wounded on June 23 when three bombs exploded in southwestern Baghdad, while two bombs killed at least 25 people at a checkpoint outside a provincial governor's house just south of Baghdad on June 21.

In December, the human rights group Iraq Body Count put the 2010 civilian death toll in Iraq at 3,976 up to Dec. 23, compared to 4,680 in 2009. The 2010 civilian toll was the lowest since the 2003 invasion. (Reporting by Muhanad Mohammed; editing by Serena Chaudhry and Mark Heinrich)

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