Number of violent deaths rises in Iraq in March

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 01, 2011 8:57 AM

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The number of civilians, police and soldiers killed in violence in Iraq rose in March, official figures showed on Friday, just days after militants killed 58 people in the month's deadliest attack.

The Health Ministry said 136 civilians were killed in bombings and other attacks last month compared with 119 in February.

Fifty-five police officers and 56 soldiers were killed, compared with 15 and 33 respectively in February, according to interior and defense ministry figures.

In March, 215 civilians, 80 police officers and 75 soldiers were wounded.

Many of the deaths in March were the result of an attack on Tuesday on the provincial council of Salahuddin in Tikrit, 150 km (95 miles) north of Baghdad.

While overall violence has fallen sharply in Iraq since the peak of sectarian warfare in 2006-7, security forces continue to fight a weakened but still lethal insurgency. Bombings and other attacks occur daily.

War casualties decreased at the end of last year despite predictions that the formal end of U.S. combat operations in August would lead to an increase in attacks. American troops are scheduled to withdraw completely by the end of this year.

(Writing by Khalid al-Ansary; Editing by Caroline Drees and Elizabeth Fullerton)