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Iraq civilian deaths lowest this year in May

(Reuters) / 1 June 2011

BAGHDAD - The number of civilians killed in violence in Iraq dropped in May to 102, the lowest monthly toll this year, government figures showed on Wednesday.

The health ministry’s May toll of killings in bombings and other attacks compared with 120 in April. In December 2010, 89 civilians were killed.

Deaths of Iraqi security personnel also fell in May.

Forty-five police officers were killed, down from 65 in April, while 30 soldiers were killed, compared with 35 the previous month, according to figures from the interior and defence ministries.

The ministries said 66 police officers and 85 soldiers were wounded in May attacks.

Violence in Iraq has fallen since the height of the 2006-2007 sectarian warfare unleashed by the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, but shootings and bombings by Sunni insurgents and Shi’ite militia still occur daily.

In December, the human rights group Iraq Body Count (IBC) put the 2010 civilian death toll in Iraq at 3,976 up to Dec. 23, compared to 4,680 in 2009. The 2010 civilian toll was the lowest since the 2003 invasion.

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