UN says Iraq violence kills 196 civilians in September

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-01 21:39:24|Editor: Yurou
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BAGHDAD, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- Violence, terrorist acts and armed conflicts across Iraq have killed 196 civilians and wounded 381 others in September, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said on Sunday.

A UNAMI statement said figures of casualties do not include security members, as the Iraqi military declined to give information about casualties among the troops.

Previous figures of security members' casualties released by UNAMI were questioned by the Iraqi military as "inaccurate."

Most of the civilian casualties occurred in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, where 37 were killed and 157 others injured in multiple violent incidents, including that a deadly car bombing ripped through a busy marketplace in the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City in eastern Baghdad on Aug. 28.

Jan Kubis, the UN envoy to Iraq and the UNAMI chief, said the continuing suffering of civilians is shedding light on the terrorist Islamic State (IS) group's ability to strike despite its defeats in the battlefields across the country.

Kubis referred to the deadly attack on Sept. 14 when IS claimed the killing of some 180 people, including Iranian pilgrims, in the coordinated attacks of a car bomb and a gunfire near the city of Nasriyah in Iraq's southern province of Dhi Qar.

"This (Dhi Qar attack) only proves that the terrorist Daesh (IS group) remains a potent force, if not resolutely countered throughout the whole country as a matter of priority, without any distractions that divert attention elsewhere," Kubis said.

"Attacks like this serve as a call for all Iraqis to set aside their differences, no matter how significant and how deep-rooted, and to continue working together in fighting Daesh (IS)," he said.

Kubis also said that IS group is "on the verge of being wiped out from the soil of Iraq" by the combined efforts of the security forces, Kurdish Peshmerga and local tribal fighters.

"Every dispute and discord to prolong its lease of life here and in the region, to pursue its global terrorist objectives," Kubis warned.

He concluded that fighting and defeating IS remains a "priority and requires that all Iraqis remain united behind their security forces."

UNAMI statement came as tensions are running high between Baghdad government and the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan after the Kurdish region held a controversial referendum on independence of Kurdistan and disputed areas, including Kirkuk.

The independence referendum was opposed by many countries because it would threaten the integrity of Iraq and it could undermine fight against IS militants.

In addition, neighboring countries such as Turkey, Iran and Syria see that such a step would threaten their territorial integrity, as larger populations of Kurds live in those countries.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi forces are conducting an offensive to dislodge IS militants from their stronghold in the city of Hawijah and surrounding areas. The troops have to wage more offensives to liberate the remaining IS strongholds in the border areas with Syria, including the cities of Rawa and al-Qaim in the western province of Anbar province.

Many blame the current chronic instability, cycle of violence, and the emergence of extremist groups, such as the IS, on the United States that invaded and occupied Iraq in March 2003, under the pretext of seeking to destroy weapons of mass destruction in the country. But no such weapons have been found.