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989 killed in Iraq in July, most in five years: govt

Iraqis inspect the site of a car bomb explosion in the impoverished district of Sadr City in Baghdad on July 29, 2013
Iraqis inspect the site of a car bomb explosion in the impoverished district of Sadr City in Baghdad on July 29, 2013. Iraq violence kills 989 in July, the highest monthly since 2008, said the government on July 31, 2013.

Violence in Iraq killed 989 people in July, government figures released on Wednesday showed, making it the deadliest month since April 2008.

The dead comprised 778 civilians, 88 police, 55 soldiers and 68 insurgents, according to the figures compiled by the health, interior and defence ministries.

Violence also wounded 1,567 people in July -- 1,356 civilians, 122 police and 89 soldiers.

The figures make July the deadliest month since 2008, when Iraq was emerging from a bloody sectarian conflict.

In April of that year, 1,428 people were killed, according to official figures -- 966 civilians, 69 police, 38 soldiers and 355 insurgents.

The killing continued on Wednesday, taking the lives of 15 people, including five Sahwa anti-Al-Qaeda fighters, officials said.

Gunmen killed three Sahwa militiamen and wounded a fourth in the northern province of Kirkuk. Two more were shot dead near Baquba, also north of the capital.

The Sahwa, who sided with US forces against insurgents from late 2006, helping to turn the tide of the war. They are regarded as traitors by Sunni militants and are frequently targeted in attacks.

Two people were killed by gunmen in the same area where the Sahwa fighters were attacked northeast of Baquba, while two bombings in Kirkuk province wounded five soldiers and a policeman.

Gunmen also shot dead seven people and wounded eight in two attacks in Baghdad province, and a car bomb wounded five people south of Tikrit.

And a suicide bomber attacked an army patrol in Abu Ghraib, west of the capital, killing a soldier and wounding four.

Iraq has faced years of attacks by militants, but analysts say widespread discontent among the Sunni Arab minority, which the government has failed to address, has fuelled this year's spike in unrest.

Sunnis accuse the Shiite-led government of marginalising and targeting their community, including unwarranted arrests and terrorism charges.

Protests that erupted in Sunni areas at the end of 2012 are still ongoing.

In addition to major security problems, the government is also failing to provide adequate basic services such as electricity and clean water, and corruption is widespread.

Political squabbling has paralysed the government, which has passed almost no major legislation in years.

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