UN says 980 killed in Iraq violence in December
BAGHDAD (AP) — Violence has claimed the lives of 980 Iraqis in December, up from 888 the previous month, the United Nations said on Friday.
The U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq, known as UNAMI, said in a statement that 506 of those killed in December were civilians, while the rest were security forces, including Kurdish peshmerga and paramilitary troops. It added that 1,244 civilians were wounded in December.
The worst-affected province was Baghdad with 261 killed, followed by Ninevah province with 68, the statement said.
Citing its local health authorities, the U.N. says 124 civilians were killed in Anbar province, which has large areas under IS control. The U.N says it could not fully verify the Anbar figures due to the increased volatility of the situation on the ground and the disruption of services.
December figures brought the total number of civilian causalities in 2015 to 7,515 killed and 14,855 wounded, according to U.N. figures.
“The year 2015 has seen thousands of Iraqis killed and injured as a result of conflict and terrorism. This is unacceptable,” the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, Jan Kubis said in the statement.
“The Iraqi people have every right to live in peace and tranquility. The United Nations continues to deplore this continuing loss of life,” Kubis added.
The Islamic State group seized much of northern and western Iraq, including the second largest city, Mosul, in the summer of 2014. The extremists have declared a caliphate in the areas of Iraq and Syria under their control and have imposed a harsh and violent version of Islamic law.
On Monday, Iraqi forces backed by U.S.-led airstrikes drove IS militants out of the city center of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, and raised the Iraqi flag over the main government complex there.
IS had seized Ramadi in May, in its biggest advance since the start of a U.S.-led air campaign in August 2014.