Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published March 1, 2014 at 8:19 AM | Page modified March 2, 2014 at 3:20 AM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (6)
  • Print

UN says 703 killed in Iraq in February attacks

The United Nations said Saturday that violence across Iraq in February killed 703 people, a death toll higher than the year before as the country faces a rising wave of militant attacks rivaling the sectarian bloodshed that followed the U.S.-led invasion.


Associated Press

Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
This is what happens when you leave early. Could you imagine what would have happened... MORE
We shouldn't have even been there. Thank You GW Bush!! MORE
While the hawks are distracted calling for a new Cold War, our Saudi allies continue to... MORE

advertising

BAGHDAD —

The United Nations said Saturday that violence across Iraq in February killed 703 people, a death toll higher than the year before as the country faces a rising wave of militant attacks rivaling the sectarian bloodshed that followed the U.S.-led invasion.

The figures issued by the U.N.'s mission to Iraq is close to January's death toll of 733, showing that a surge of violence that began 10 months ago with a government crackdown on a Sunni protest camp is not receding. Meanwhile, attacks Saturday killed at least five people and wounded 14, authorities said.

Attacks in February killed 564 civilians and 139 security force members in February, the U.N. said. The violence wounded 1,381, the vast majority civilians, it said. That compares to February 2013, when attacks killed 418 civilians and wounded 704.

The capital, Baghdad, was the worst affected with 239 people killed, according to the U.N. Two predominantly Sunni provinces -- central Salaheddin with 121 killed and northern Ninevah with 94 killed -- followed.

U.N. mission chief Nickolay Mladenov appealed to Iraqis to stop the violence.

"The political, social and religious leaders of Iraq have an urgent responsibility to come together in the face of the terrorist threat that the country is facing," Mladenov said in a statement. "Only by working together can Iraqis address the causes of violence and build a democratic society in which rule of law is observed and human rights are protected."

February's numbers could be even worse that the U.N. reported, however, as it again excluded deaths from ongoing fighting in Anbar province, due to problems in verifying the "status of those killed." It did the same in January.

Al-Qaida-linked fighters and their allies seized the city of Fallujah and parts of the Anbar provincial capital Ramadi in late December after authorities dismantled a protest camp. Like the camp in the northern Iraqi town of Hawija whose dismantlement in April sparked violent clashes and set off the current upsurge in killing, the Anbar camp was set up 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.

Widespread chaos nearly tore the country apart following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein. The violence ebbed in 2008 after a series of U.S.-Iraqi military offensives, a Shiite militia cease-fire and a Sunni revolt against al-Qaida in Iraq.

But last year, the country saw the highest death toll since the worst of the country's sectarian bloodletting, according to the U.N., with 8,868 people killed.

Meanwhile, attacks continued Saturday.

In the town of Tarmiyah, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Baghdad, gunmen in speeding cars attacked a checkpoint for pro-government, anti-al-Qaida Sunni tribal militias, killing two and wounding four, a police officer said. The Awakening Councils, or Sahwa, were first formed and financed by the U.S. troops to help fighting extremist militant groups. They are the favorite targets for the insurgent groups who see them as traitors.

Another group of gunmen attacked an army check point outside Baghdad's western outskirts of Abu Ghraib, killing two soldiers and wounding four, another police officer said. Inside Abu Ghraib, a bomb went off in an outdoor market, killing one civilian and wounding six, he added.

Two medical officials confirmed causality figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release the information.

___

Associated Press writer Murtada Faraj contributed to this report.

___

Follow Sinan Salaheddin on Twitter at www.twitter.com/sinansm.



News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Get ready for 2015

Get ready for 2015

The Seattle Times 12-month wall calendar features hand-picked photos of life in the Pacific Northwest. Order while supplies last!

Advertising

Partner Video

Advertising


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►