BAGHDAD, Iraq – Over 1,000 Iraqis were killed across that country this month, reports AFP, reversing a trend of declining violence in Iraq. Data from Iraq’s interior, health and defense ministries indicate that over 966 of those killed were civilians.
Most were killed in the crossfire in the fighting between Shiite militants and security forces, security officials said. Combined figures from the three ministries complied by AFP shows that over 1,700 civilians were wounded in this violence, as well.
Violence in Iraq had been declining until March, when fighting broke out in Basra, and spread to other Shiite areas of Iraq. These clashes broke out after Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered a crackdown on militiamen. After fresh fighting broke out in Sadr City, Maliki accused militiamen of using civilians as human shields.
“Criminals and lawless gangs are using human shields in Sadr City… They are following the steps of the Baathist regime,” he said. “They are trying to gain sympathy but they are using the lies and values of the former regime [of Saddam Hussein].”
Two hospitals in Sadr City alone said they received the bodies of 421 Iraqis killed and have treated more than 2,400 wounded since late March, many of whom have been civilians caught in the crossfire.
For more information, please see:
BBC News – Baghdad clashes ‘leave 400 dead’ – 30 April 2008
Washington Post – April Iraq’s Deadliest Month Since Last August – 30 April 2008
AFP – Iraq bloodshed in April kills 1073 – 30 April 2008