UN: At least 1,466 Iraqis killed in June due to violence
By SINAN SALAHEDDIN
BAGHDAD (AP) -- At least 1,466 Iraqis were killed by armed conflict in June, up more than 40 percent from the previous month as security forces suffered mounting casualties battling the Islamic State group, according to U.N. figures released Wednesday.
The monthly death toll was the highest since last September, and the rise from last month appeared to be almost entirely due to higher casualties among security forces. Some 800 Iraqi security forces and pro-government militiamen were killed in June, more than twice the 366 killed in May, according to the U.N.
The U.N. mission said those killed in June include at least 665 civilians. It put the total number of wounded at 1,687. Baghdad was the worst-affected province, with 324 civilians killed and 650 wounded.
In May at least 1,031 people were killed across the country, including 665 civilians. The latest casualty count was the highest since last September, when 1,420 Iraqis were killed.
The U.N. said the latest figures are an "absolute minimum" as it has not been able verify causalities in conflict zones or count those who have died from the secondary effects of violence after fleeing their homes.
"The terrorists of the so called ISIL and sectarian extremists are largely responsible for this violence which has affected all aspects of life in Iraq," U.N. envoy Jan Kubis said.
He called on Iraq's leaders to "come together and find a peaceful political solution to the existential problems that are facing Iraq and its people."
Four bomb attacks in and around Baghdad on Wednesday killed at least 10 civilians and wounded 33, police officials said. The deadliest was a roadside bomb that exploded on a commercial street in southeast Baghdad, killing three civilians and wounded 11 others.
On the capital's western outskirts, clashes erupted between Islamic State group fighters and Iraqi forces, leaving two soldiers and two Shiite militiamen dead, the officials said. Separately, authorities found three dead bodies, including that of a policeman, dumped in the streets of Baghdad. All had gunshot wounds, and their legs and hands were tied, they said.
Medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.
Associated Press writers Qassem Abdul-Zahra and Murtada Faraj contributed to this report.