309 civilians killed in Iraq violence in April: UN

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-01 19:18:09|Editor: xuxin
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BAGHDAD, May 1 (Xinhua) -- Violence, terrorist acts and armed conflicts across Iraq killed a total of 309 civilians and wounded 387 others in April, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said on Monday.

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 were questioned by the Iraqi military as "inaccurate," while UNAMI responded that "the military figures were largely unverified."

April's results also excluded the casualties in Iraq's western province of Anbar, where volatility of the situation on the ground disrupted figures from there, the statement said.

Most of the civilian casualties occurred in Iraq's northern province of Nineveh, where 153 were killed and 123 others injured in fierce battles between Iraqi forces and Islamic State (IS) militants in western Mosul.

Jan Kubis, the UN envoy to Iraq and the UNAMI chief, said civilians continue to pay a heavy price in the conflict, particularly in Nineveh province where the Iraqi security forces are fighting heavy street battle against IS militants in the provincial capital Mosul, according to the statement.

"Daesh (IS group) terrorists have detonated car bombs in residential neighbourhoods in Mosul and attacked civilians desperately fleeing the fighting as the security forces liberate more territory from the terrorists. But Daesh's atrocities were not confined to the combat zones and spared no one," Kubis said.

"They (IS militants) have struck in liberated areas where people are trying to rebuild their lives, using suicide bombers as in the attack in the Sunni heartland of Tikrit in Salahudin province earlier in April. They have also attacked with a suicide bombing in the Karrada neighbourhood of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad last weekend," Kubis added.

However, Kubis said that the terrorist attacks by IS group "has failed to weaken the will and the unity of the Iraqi people, who are increasingly seeing victory against the terrorists within reach."

The UNAMI statement came as the Iraqi security forces backed by anti-IS international coalition are carrying out a major offensive to drive out the IS militants from its last major stronghold in the city of Mosul in northern Iraq.

Earlier, the UNAMI said a total of 6,878 civilians were killed and 12,388 wounded in 2016, adding that the figures did not include the civilian casualty figures for Anbar Province for the months of May, July, August and December.

Iraq has witnessed intensifying violence since the IS extremist group took control of parts of its northern and western regions in June 2014.