At least 20 people were killed in Iraq today, bringing the total number of violent deaths in June to 544. Several factors likely contributed to this surge in bloodshed, not the least of which was Iraq’s precarious political situation. Another 20 people were wounded.
According to this column, at least 544 people were killed during June. This not only includes civilians but also police, military personnel, contractors and insurgents too.
It does not include fatalities that went unreported in the media. It does not differentiate between Iraqis and other nationalities; however, the lion’s share were Iraqi natives. Certainly, a number of Iranian pilgrims were also killed during Shi’ite observances. Also, a number of people were killed in Daquq, but the exact number who died in June was not specified and they were not counted. Obviously, hundreds more were wounded as well.
Iraq Body Count recorded 457 civilian deaths through June 29, while the Associated Press counted only 234 deaths. Due to the nature of reporting in Iraq, conflicting casualty counts are the norm.
Also in June, the Iraqi government attempted to stifle certain media outlets before international condemnation forced it to back down. Whether that contributed to the violence is unknown, but the manipulation of the media took a different turn this week when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki promised free land to journalists in contested Kirkuk. In any case, it will likely become more difficult to accurately track casualties in Iraq unless freedom of an independent press is secured.
What likely set off some if not much of the surge in violence is the ongoing political situation. Near the beginning of June, parliament failed to withdraw confidence from P.M. Maliki, whose marginalization of the Sunnis and consolidation of power since the withdrawal of U.S. troops in December drove several opposition to join forces against him.
At least 20 Iraqis were killed today and another 20 were wounded.
A pair of roadside bombs near Samarra in Huwaish killed seven people, including three civilians, and wounded three more federal police.
In Mosul, a blast killed four people, including a civilian and wounded five more civilians. An oil security policeman was killed and two more were wounded in a blast targeting a pipeline. A bomb killed a soldier and wounded two more.
Bombs planted at the Abu Ghraib home of a policeman, killing one relative while wounding a woman and child.
A blast in Tal Afar killed an army captain. Three soldiers were wounded in a clash.
Gunmen killed a civilian near Baaj. A body belonging to a security force member was discovered.
An I.E.D. blast in Ramadi killed a policeman and wounded another.
A civilian was gunned down in al-Tun Kubri.
Gunmen in Falluja killed a shopkeeper.
Two civilians were wounded in a blast in Taji.