Iraq’s civilian death toll drops by nearly 80 percent: reports

Iraqi men and women buy food in an open air market in Mosul after breaking the fast during Ramadan on May 24, 2018, as the holy month has one on without major violence unlike previous years when it was rocked by deadly attacks
AFP

Baghdad (AFP) – The number of Iraqi civilians killed in acts of violence since the beginning of the year has significantly dropped, largely due to defeat of the Islamic State group, United Nations and a monitor have said.

Reports released this week by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the Iraq Body Count database there was an 80 percent drop in civilian deaths in the first five months of 2018 compared to the same period last year.

UNAMI said 477 Iraqis were killed in acts of violence since the beginning of the year compared to 2,014 in the first five months of 2017, a drop of 76.3 percent.

The number of wounded during the same period dropped from 2,977 to 939, a decrease of 68.4 percent, it said. 

The London-based Iraq Body Count, which tracks violent deaths in the country, gave similar figures. 

The number of civilian deaths from political and religious violence dropped from 7,708 in the first five months of 2017 to 1,818 during the same period in 2018 — a decrease of 76.4 percent.

In May Iraq held parliamentary elections without any major security incident, a first since the 2003 US-led invasion and ouster of dictator Saddam Hussein.

And so far, the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, which started in mid-May, has gone on without major violence unlike previous years when it was rocked by deadly attacks.

Iraq claimed victory over IS in December after pushing the jihadists out of their final holdouts along the border with Syria. 

But the group retains the capacity to strike despite losing control of vast swathes of Iraqi territory it seized in 2014 and still clings to pockets of desert in war-torn Syria.

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