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Iraq monthly death toll falls in April

by Staff Writers
Baghdad (AFP) May 1, 2011
The number of Iraqis killed in violence in April fell by around 15 percent compared with the previous month, according to figures released on Sunday.

A total of 211 Iraqis -- 120 civilians, 56 policemen and 35 soldiers -- died as a result of attacks in April, the monthly data compiled by the ministries of health, interior and defence showed.

Sunday's figures were around 15 percent lower than the monthly toll for March, when 247 Iraqis were killed.

A further 377 people were wounded last month: 190 civilians, 97 policemen and 90 soldiers. The figures also showed that 49 insurgents were killed and 199 arrested in April.

The figures were driven largely by three consecutive days of violence in which 40 people were killed.

On Saturday, a suicide blast in the main northern city of Mosul killed seven people, in nationwide unrest that claimed 13 lives overall.

And a Sunni imam's family and four Sunni brothers were shot dead in attacks in the restive central Iraqi province of Diyala on Friday, a day after a suicide bomber killed 10 Shiite worshippers in a nearby mosque.

A spate of assassinations also took place last month, which officials warned could be a new trend indicating insurgent groups were adopting lower-cost methods to destabilise Iraq as local security forces have become more capable.

At least seven senior military and civilian officials were killed in the past two weeks, and at least three others have narrowly escaped being murdered.

The toll was released one day after the US military confirmed a soldier was killed in southern Iraq, the 11th death in April, making it the deadliest month for US forces since November 2009, according to an AFP tally based on data compiled by independent website

Around 45,000 US soldiers still remain stationed in Iraq. While they are primarily charged with training and equipping their local counterparts, they can return fire in self-defence and still take part in joint counter-terror operations with Iraqi forces.

The soldier's death also brought to 4,452 the number of American troops to have died in Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein, according to the AFP tally.

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