BAGHDAD, (Xinhua): A total of 703 Iraqis were killed in violent attacks in Iraq in February, according to a statement issued Saturday by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).
The statement said that 564 civilians, including civilian police personnel, and 139 members of the security forces were killed and 1,179 civilians, including civilian police personnel, were wounded in terrorist and violent acts in February.
The UNAMI statement excluded the casualties in Anbar province where fierce clashes flared up after Iraqi police dismantled an anti-government protest site outside Ramadi in late December last year.
However, the statement obtained information from the health committee of the Anbar’s provincial council saying that the total civilian casualties in February was 298 killed and 1,198 injured across the province.
It said that 189 civilians were killed and 550 injured in Ramadi, while 109 killed and 648 injured in Fallujah, the statement elaborated, but said that Anbar’s toll could not be independently verified.
“The political, social and religious leaders of Iraq have an urgent responsibility to come together in the face of the terrorist threat that the country is facing,” UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov said in the statement.
“Only by working together can Iraqis address the causes of violence and build a democratic society in which rule of law is observed and human rights are protected,” Mladenov said.
Iraq’s Sunnis have been carrying out a year-long protest, accusing the Shiite-led government of marginalizing them and its Shiite-dominated security forces of indiscriminately arresting, torturing and killing their sons.
Iraq is witnessing its worst violence in recent years. According to the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, a total of 8,868 Iraqis, including 7,818 civilians and civilian police personnel, were killed in 2013, the highest annual death toll in years.