UN says violence in Iraq killed 239 in July

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Baghdad, Aug 1 (IANS) Violence, terrorist acts and armed conflicts across Iraq killed a total of 239 civilians and left wounded 273 others in July, a UN mission said on Tuesday.

“Figures of casualties do not include security members, as the Iraqi military declined to give information about casualties among the troops,” a statement by United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said.

Previous figures of security members’ casualties released by UNAMI were questioned by the Iraqi military as “inaccurate”, while UNAMI responded “the military figures were largely unverified”, Xinhua news agency reported.

Most of the civilian casualties occurred in the province of Nineveh, where 121 were killed and 112 others injured in battles between Iraqi forces and Islamic State (IS) militants in western Mosul.

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Condemning the terrorist actions by IS, UN envoy to Iraq and UNAMI chief Jan Kubis said: “The terrorist actions caused enormous suffering to civilians by using them as human shields before the group was crushed in Mosul and victory declared by the government of Iraq on July 10.”

Kubis reiterated his call to protect civilians in the conflict area as the Iraqi forces prepare for further offensive to “liberate the remaining parts of the country from the scourge of Daesh (IS group)”.

The UNAMI statement came as Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on July 10 officially declared Mosul’s liberation from IS after nearly nine months of fierce fighting to dislodge the extremist militants from their last major stronghold in Iraq.

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