Over 10,000 people were killed in Iraq during 2013, making it the worst year since 2008 by most measures. In December, this column found 1180 reported fatalities from various sources. Another 2,046 people were wounded. These numbers include civilians, security personnel and even gunmen or alleged gunmen. The official numbers from the Iraqi government were 1,001 dead and 1,208 wounded. The government often undercounts the casualties, when it is in their favor.
The violence that continued today perhaps foreshadows the upcoming year. Clashes triggered by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki directives continued, as did other attacks. Across the country at least 47 people were killed today, and another 60 were wounded.
The prime minister ordered the army back into the cities of Anbar province a day after telling them to withdraw and let police handle the situation. Many policemen have fled their stations as militants attacked and set fire to several of them. At one police station, over a hundred prisoners were freed and militants cleaned out the armory. The army has cutoff routes between Anbar and Baghdad provinces.
Despite the attacks, security forces reported few casualties among their personnel. One station director was killed in Falluja, and a police chief’s bodyguard was injured in an attack on a station in Ramadi. A suicide bomber in Rutba killed a policeman and a soldier and wounded seven others, including children.
Clashes in Garma may have left a large number of civilian casualties; at least one death and 12 injuries were reported there, but Baghdad Operation Command claimed that 30 gunmen were killed in an operation.
A hospital in Ramadi reported taking in 16 bodies and 66 patients due to the violence. The source said that additional casualties were sent to other hospitals. The final totals may take several days to surface.
Elsewhere, attacks also continued.
At a police station near Baghdad in Tarmiya, gunmen killed four people and wounded 12 more.
Gunmen attacked a Yathrib checkpoint, where they killed one person and wounded four more.
An I.E.D. injured four policemen in Baiji.