The United Nations said in a statement late Monday that terrorism and other acts of violence claimed the lives of at least 6,878 Iraqis and wounded another 12,388 civilians in the country throughout 2016.
According to the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq Jan Kubis noted in the UNAMI statement that civilian casualty figures for December are lower compared to previous months, but stressed that terrorist bombings increased toward the end of the month that targeted civilians. Iraqi government has been struggling to maintain security nationwide and to dislodge Islamic State group militants from areas under their control.
The numbers “have to be considered as the absolute minimum,” according to the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).
“In 2016, UNAMI recorded a total of 19,266 civilian casualties: 6,878 killed and 12,388 other civilians were wounded,” the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said in a statement. The figure omits casualties among civilians in Iraq’s western Anbar province, the figures may actually be higher because they do not include civilians who were killed or injured as the Anbar Health Department. According to UNAMI figures, at least 7,515 civilians were killed in 2015.
December 2016 report showed that a total of 386 people were killed and other 1,066 were injured, the worst affected area was the northern province of Ninevah, where government security forces are fighting to retake the IS-held city of Mosul, with 208 civilians killed and 511 injured by the monthly U.N. casualty report. The capital, Baghdad, came next with 109 civilians killed and 523 wounded.
Islamic State (IS), locally known by the Arabic acronym Daesh, has claimed responsibility for a string of bombings that have killed more than 50 people in Baghdad in the last week. The another deadliest and the bloodiest single attack in the capital in 13 years of war, Daesh attack was in July when a massive suicide bombing in a fussy market area (central Baghdad) killed almost 300 people.
“There is, no doubt, an attempt by Daesh (an Arabic acronym for Islamic State) to divert attention from their losses in (the Iraqi city) of Mosul and, unfortunately, it is the innocent civilians who are paying the price,” Jan Kubis, the special representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Iraq, said in the statement.
Since mid-2014, Iraq has been grasped by violence, when the Islamic state took over vast swathes of the country after attacking from neighbouring war-torn Syria. The terrorist group, which is excluded in many countries, including Russia, took over Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul as well as most of the Anbar province. The offensive is led by Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Iraqi soldiers backed by the US-led anti-terror coalition.