345 civilians killed in Iraq violence in May: UN

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-01 22:56:32|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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BAGHDAD, June 1 (Xinhua) -- Violence, terrorist acts and armed conflicts across Iraq killed a total of 345 civilians and wounded 446 others in May, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said on Thursday.

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."

Most of the civilian casualties occurred in Iraq's northern province of Nineveh, where 160 were killed and 52 others injured in battles between Iraqi forces and Islamic State (IS) militants in western Mosul.

Jan Kubis, the UN envoy to Iraq and the UNAMI chief, decried the terrorist attacks by the IS group on civilians before and in the early days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, according to the statement.

"The terrorist Daesh (IS group) is in its death throes in Mosul, but it has continued to stretch its wicked arm there and in other areas to relieve the military pressure on it, deliberately aiming to kill and maim the maximum number of civilians," Kubis said referring to the deadly attacks in Iraqi capital Baghdad, including a massive suicide car bombing outside an ice cream parlor in the neighborhood of Karrada in southern central Baghdad that killed 11 people and wounded 75 others.

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 their major stronghold in the western side 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 casualties in Anbar province for the months of last year's May, July, August and December.

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