Middle East

Iraq sees deadliest month in two years

An Iraqi soldier stands guard at the site of a bomb attack in a market in the eastern Iraqi town of Zubaidiya (3 July, 2012)
Civilians make up the highest number of casualties killed in July

July was Iraq's deadliest month in nearly two years as 325 people died in nationwide attacks, according to new government figures.

The data, compiled by Iraqi officials, show casualties included 241 civilians, 40 police and 44 soldiers.

On July 23 alone, 103 people were killed in a wave of co-ordinated bombings across the country.

The recent rise in violence has been linked to Sunni insurgents trying to undermine the Shia-led government.

The new estimates also show that 697 people - 480 civilians, 122 police and 95 soldiers - were wounded in July.

The data represents the highest monthly toll given by the Iraqi government since August 2010, when an estimated 426 people were killed and another 838 wounded in attacks.

According to the AFP news agency, attacks took place on at least 27 of the 31 days in July.

Iraq experienced its worst clashes between Shia and Sunnis in 2006 and 2007.

Although violence has dropped dramatically since, bloodshed has begun to escalate again after the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq in December 2011.