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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iraq: 'Staggering' number of civilian casualties in November; Baghdad hardest hit, says UN

2 December 2016 – Last month, Iraq suffered thousands of deaths and injuries – including by a significant number of civilians – in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict, according to recently released figures by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

Ján Kubiš, the UN Special Representative and Head of UNAMI, pointed to the Mission's latest statistics, which reveal that 2,885 Iraqis were killed and another 1,380 injured, saying: "The casualty figures are staggering, with civilians accounting for a significant number of the victims," he stated.

"In its desperate attempt to cling on to territory it controls in Mosul and Ninewa areas, Da'esh [also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL] has been employing the most vicious tactics, using civilian homes as firing positions, as well as abducting and forcibly moving civilians, effectively using them as human shields," Mr. Kubiš explained.

In counting civilian casualties, UNAMI included Sahwa civil defence, Personal Security Details, facilities protection police and fire department personnel. In November, these groups were among the 926 civilians killed, including seven federal police, and the 930 injured, including 18 federal police. Fifty-two foreign civilians were also killed and 31 injured.

Baghdad, the worst affected Governorate, suffered 733 civilian casualties –152 killed and 581 injured. Elsewhere, 332 were killed and 114 injured in Ninewa; 60 killed and 88 injured in Salahadin; 56 killed and 23 injured in Babil; and in Kirkuk, 18 were killed and 17 injured.

According to information obtained by UNAMI from the Health Directorate in Anbar, 292 were killed and 98 injured in the Governorate, totalling 390 civilian casualties – inclusive up to 27 November.

Mr. Kubiš noted that despite continuous tactics of ISIL/Da'esh to the contrary, Iraqi security forces have declared their staunch efforts during Mosul military operations to keep civilians out of harm's way – often resulting in additional casualties among the security forces.

The UNAMI chief urged that all necessary actions necessary be taken to ensure the protection of civilian inhabitants from the effects of armed conflict and violence.

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