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Iraq Deaths Reach 13-Month High

An upsurge in violence in Iraq in the month of August 2009 has led to the highest number of deaths from violence in the country for more than a year.

Residents carry a coffin during the funeral of a bomb attack victim in eastern Baghdad August 30, 2009. (REUTERS/Mohammed Ameen) Figures compiled by the Iraqi government show that 393 civilians were killed during August.

Sixty police officers and soldiers also died in attacks.

But the violence is well below the worst levels of 2006 and 2007 when more than 2,000 Iraqi civilians were being killed on average every month.

Most of last month's violence was in Baghdad, with two massive truck bombings at Iraqi ministries claiming more than a 100 lives. More than 1,500 civilians were wounded in bombings, shootings and mortar attacks in August.

Correspondents say the attacks in Iraq raise concerns about the ability of the authorities to ensure security two months after taking over responsibility from the multilateral US-led forces for protecting urban areas.

US President Barack Obama has vowed to withdraw all American combat troops from the country by the end of August 2010, ahead of a complete military pullout by the end of 2011.

While the situation may have improved in Iraq, the BBC's Andrew North in Baghdad says civilian casualties are still happening at twice the rate of those in the war in Afghanistan

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