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Wednesday, April 16, 2014  

Iraq violence claimed 246 lives in Jan., says data
BAGHDAD January was Iraq’s deadliest month since September, a data showed on Friday, as militants shattered a relative calm and the country grapples with a political crisis and anti-government rallies.

The violence largely targeted security forces and officials, and struck Shia, Sunni and Kurdish communities, mostly north and west of Baghdad.

Al Qaeda’s front group in Iraq has claimed much of the violence, including a suicide bombing that killed a Sunni MP, and a string of attacks in mid-January.

The militant group often carries out deadly attacks in order to destabilise the government and push Iraq back towards the sectarian war that blighted it from 2005 to 2008.

A total of 246 people were killed last month, including 30 policemen and 18 soldiers, according to an AFP tally based on reports from security and medical officials.  Two anti-Al Qaeda militiamen known as Sahwa also died.

Some 735 other people were also wounded in violence, among them 31 policemen, 26 soldiers, six members of the security forces of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, and one Sahwa fighter.

The death toll was the highest since September, when 253 people died, and comes with Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki mired in a political crisis that has pitted himself against many of his erstwhile government partners.

Most of the victims last month were killed in two separate strings of violence - 88 people were killed in the January 15-17 period, and 70 others for January 22-23.

The month’s deadliest single attack struck on January 23, when a suicide bomber made his way into a mosque and blew himself up in the middle of a packed funeral, killing 42 people.

A day earlier, a wave of attacks in and around Baghdad and in northern Iraq killed 26 people and wounded dozens more.

Agence France-Presse
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