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Civilian deaths decline in Iraq

01 December 2010, 20:02

 Baghdad - The number of civilians killed in violence in Iraq fell in November, according to official figures issued on Wednesday...the third month in succession to show a decline in the casualty toll.

Last month 105 civilians were killed in bombings and other attacks compared with 120 in October and 185 in September, according to Health Ministry figures.

It was one of the lowest monthly civilian death tolls since the height of sectarian carnage in 2006-2007.

More than eight months after an inconclusive parliamentary election on March 7, Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish factions reached agreement on dividing top government jobs.

The deal offered hope that Iraq could avoid a return to violence in which tens of thousands of people were killed since the 2003 US invasion.

Sunni Islamist insurgents linked to al-Qaeda and other militant groups have sought to exploit the political vacuum caused by the failure of political leaders to agree on the composition of a new government.

Twenty three soldiers and 43 police officers were killed in November, according to figures from the defence and interior ministries, compared with 20 and 45 respectively in October.

The ministries said 155 civilians, 78 police officers and 60 soldiers were wounded in November.

Casualties have declined since August despite predictions that the end of US combat operations on August 31 and the transfer of full responsibility for security to Iraqi forces might result in an increase in attacks.

Insurgents have been attacking police officers and soldiers in an effort to undermine faith in the security forces before a full US withdrawal by the end of next year.

Overall violence has fallen sharply since 2006-2007 but killings and bombings still occur daily, followed every few weeks by a large-scale assault by insurgents in which dozens are killed.

- Reuters


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