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Iraq death toll spiked in January, says report

02 February, 2013

BAGHDAD: January was Iraq's deadliest month since September, AFP data showed on Friday, as militants shattered a relative calm and the country grapples with a political crisis and anti-government rallies.

The violence largely targeted security forces and officials, and struck Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish communities, mostly north and west of Baghdad.

Al Qaeda's front group in Iraq has claimed much of the violence, including a suicide bombing that killed a Sunni MP, and a string of attacks in mid-January. The militant group often carries out deadly attacks in order to destabilise the government and push Iraq back towards the sectarian war that blighted it from 2005 to 2008.

A total of 246 people were killed last month, including 30 policemen and 18 soldiers, according to an AFP tally based on reports from security and medical officials. Two anti-Qaeda militiamen known as Sahwa also died. Some 735 other people were also wounded in violence, among them 31 policemen, 26 soldiers, six members of the security forces of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, and one Sahwa fighter.

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