UN says violence claimed lives of 7,818 civilians in Iraq in 2013, highest toll in years

Iraqi federal policemen search a car at a checkpoint in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. The Iraqi government has tightened its security measures after Iraqi police took down tents and cleared a Sunni sit-in in a flashpoint western city after protesters there agreed to end their months-long demonstration following talks with the Shiite-led government, an official said Monday. Clashes nearby that reportedly left almost a dozen dead, however, were a reminder of how the protest movement has often fueled armed campaigns by insurgent groups against the authorities. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

BAGHDAD - The United Nations mission to Iraq says violence claimed the lives of 7,818 civilians in 2013, the highest annual death toll in years.

The U.N. figures issued Wednesday gave a total of 759 people killed in December alone, including 661 civilians and 98 members of the security forces.

The U.N.'s monthly figures for both civilians and security forces over the year totalled 8,868.

Violence in Iraq surged in April after the Shiite-led government staged a deadly crackdown on a Sunni protest camp.

Iraq's al-Qaida branch has capitalized on the soaring sectarian tensions and on the civil war in neighbouring Syria to rebuild itself. It has targeted civilians, particularly in Shiite areas of Baghdad, with waves of co-ordinated car bombings and other deadly attacks.


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