Casualty figures for February were released by the United Nations on Sunday. Although the number of dead dropped in the last month, the figures for March could be significantly higher now that the battle for Salah ad-Din province has begun.
Casualty Figures for February
At least 4,134 people were killed during the short month of February. Another 2,280 were wounded. These numbers combine figures released by the United Nations and various media outlets. The number of fatalities dropped considerably from January’s count of 6,106 dead. That may be due to the shorter month. The number of those injured increased slightly, however, by forty wounded.
In this column, Antiwar.com found that 1,097 civilians and security personnel were killed, and 3,031 militants were reported killed, for a total of 4,128. At least 1,381 were wounded, including 199 militants. Our figures are compiled from news reports, but they should be considered estimates, particularly those of militant deaths.
The United Nations also released their figures, which are complied by their associates in Iraq. They found that 1,103 civilians and security personnel were killed, but they do not count militant deaths. Although that is close to what the media has reported, they found 2,280 who were wounded. That number is much higher. They warn that these are the bare minimum numbers. It is likely that the figures are much higher.
The Battle for Salah ad-Din Province
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Sunday that a much-anticipated operation against the Islamic State militants has begun. The goal is to liberate militant-held areas in Salah ad-Din province, particularly the city of Tikrit. Abadi gave the Sunni fighters who have been fighting on the side of the militants an opportunity to switch sides ahead of the operation. The fighting is said to have already started in Dour. It will be followed by maneuvers in Alam, Tikrit, and Shirqat.
Although Salah ad-Din has a large Sunni population, the Iraqi army will be supported by Shi’ite militiamen. Consequently, he has asked troops to try to spare civilians caught in the fighting. However, an anonymous source in the Salah ad-Din Operations Command warned that a "Speicher Revenge Force" has been tasked to eliminate members of the Albu Ajil and Albu Nasir tribes in Saddam’s hometown of Awja. They have been accused of collaborating with the militants during the murder of hundreds of soldiers last summer at Camp Speicher.
Another large security force has left Tuz Khormato towards the city of Hawija in neighboring Kirkuk province. There they will attempt to cut off supply lines and close off any potential exits for the militants.
Also, a number of Federal Policemen have been deployed in the greater Baghdad region, hoping to flush out the Islamic State militants that have attempted to encircle the capital, particularly those to the south.
Latest Casualties: 233 Dead, 73 Wounded
Coalition airstrikes left 17 civilians dead and 24 wounded in Mosul.
Witnesses say that militants in al-Baghdadi killed a five-year-old girl, while a six-year-old died of panic as a residential building was being attacked. A suicide bomber killed two security personnel and wounded two more. The bodies of 32 security personnel were discovered. Clashes left 46 militants dead.
Seven people were executed in Albu Ajeel and Ilam.
A body was found in Husseiniya.
A sniper in Mkeshiefa wounded a reporter.
In Sinjar, 17 Yazidis escaped their imprisonment by militant forces.
In Albu Jwari, 27 militants were killed and 20 more were wounded.
Three militants were killed and nine were wounded in Albu Bali.
An airstrike in Askari killed seven militants.
In Abu Talha, security forces killed two suicide bombers.