Sunday, March 9, 2014
By Sameer N. Yacoub
The Associated Press
BAGHDAD — The United Nations said Saturday that at least 733 Iraqis were killed during violence in January, even when leaving out casualties from an embattled western province.
The figures issued Saturday by the U.N.’s mission to Iraq show 618 civilians and 115 members of the security forces were killed in January. But the UNAMI statement excluded deaths from ongoing fighting in Anbar, due to problems in verifying the “status of those killed.” The figures also leave out insurgent deaths.
Also, the U.N. said at least 1,229 Iraqis were wounded in attacks across the country last month.
Baghdad was the worst affected province, with 297 killed and 585 wounded.
Al-Qaida-linked fighters and their allies seized control of the city of Fallujah and parts of the Anbar provincial capital Ramadi last month after authorities dismantled a protest camp by Sunnis angry at what they consider second-class treatment by the Shiite-led government.
The government and its tribal allies are besieging the rebel-held areas, with fighting reported daily.
U.N. mission chief Nickolay Mladenov expressed deep concern over the humanitarian situation in Anbar, saying thousands of families are displaced and others stranded in besieged Fallujah.
“I am deeply alarmed by the humanitarian situation of thousands of displaced families and particularly of those stranded in Fallujah. They lack water, fuel, food, medicine and other basic commodities,” he said.
Last week, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said that 140,000 Iraqis have fled from the embattled areas of Anbar, the largest displacement of civilians in the country since the sectarian violence of 2006-2008.
A few days ago, the International Committee of the Red Cross said it had delivered aid, such as blankets, food and kitchen sets, to more than 3,000 people in the center of Fallujah.
In ongoing violence, police said a bomb went off near an outdoor market in the southern suburbs of Baghdad, killing two people and wounding eight. Also, a roadside bomb hit an army patrol in the Mishahda area just north of Baghdad, killing one soldier and wounding five others.
Hospital officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to the media.