Iraq's monthly death toll down in February, but Anbar fighting not included
The February death toll figure does not include deaths from ongoing fighting in Anbar between militants and the government (Haidar Hamdani/AFP)
The United Nations says a total of 703 people were killed in Iraq in February, as the country faces its worst violence in years.
The UN mission to Iraq issued the figure on Saturday, which is close to that of January’s death toll of 733.
The figure excluded deaths from the ongoing fighting between the Iraqi forces and Al Qaeda-linked militants in the western Anbar Province, neighboring Syria.
Some 564 civilians and 139 members of security forces were killed in the violence in the country, while 1,381 people, including 1,179 civilians, were injured.
Baghdad was the worst affected region with 239 deaths, followed by central Salahuddin Province with 121 killed and northern Nineveh Province with 94 killed.
UN mission chief, Nickolay Mladenov, asked Iraqis to come together to put an end to the violence.
"The political, social and religious leaders of Iraq have an urgent responsibility to come together in the face of the terrorist threat that the country is facing," he said, adding, “Only by working together can Iraqis address the causes of violence and build a democratic society in which rule of law is observed and human rights are protected."
The UN death toll for January also excluded deaths from Anbar because of problems in verifying “the status of those killed.”
Iraq has been experiencing its deadliest cycle of violence since 2008, with Anbar viewed as the epicenter of Al Qaeda-linked militancy that has gripped the country’s west over the past two months.
Violence erupted in Anbar last December when security forces cleared a protest camp which the government said was used by militants for launching terrorist attacks.