Iraq Death Toll Worse Since Conflict in 2008

Iraqi children look out a window as local tribe leaders meet with Iraqi and U.S. security forces near Muqtadiyah in Iraq's Diyala province in 2008. (CNS photo/Damir Sagolj, Reuters)

Just a few days before news emerged that the city of Falluja in Iraq’s Anbar Province had fallen into Al Qaeda hands on Jan. 3, the Web site Iraqbodycount.com released its report on the annual death toll in Iraq. Its researchers found that 9,500 civilians died in violence in Iraq in 2013, the worst toll since 2008 and double the number who were killed in Iraq because of violence arising out of sectarian conflict and acts of terrorism in 2012. According to the report, 2013 started with protests and rising discontent as Iraq’s Sunnis demanded political reform and power sharing, while the government of Nouri al-Maliki abandoned efforts to be cross sectarian, targeting Sunni politicians, arresting and interrogating them and forcing others into exile. After Iraqi security forces killed 49 Sunni protestors on April 23, retaliation strikes resulted in a tripling of the number of civilian deaths over the next 6 months.

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