Over 1,300 Iraqis Killed in August

Over 1,300 Iraqis Killed in AugustOver 1,300 Iraqis Killed in August

A total of 1,325 people were killed in terrorist attacks and armed conflict in Iraq in August, according to the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq.

In a report released Tuesday, UNAMI said the number comprises 585 civilians and 740 members of the Iraqi security forces, including members of the military and police, Kurdish peshmerga fighters and allied militias, Albawaba reported.

A further 1,103 civilians and 708 ISF personnel were wounded over the same period, the report said.

A majority of the civilian casualties occurred in and around Baghdad, where 318 were killed and 751 injured. Diyala Province came in second, with 108 killed and 162 injured, and Nineveh Province, where Islamic State-controlled Mosul is located, came in third with 69 killed and three injured.

In Iraq’s western Anbar Province, where the Iraqi military and allied militias have been locked in an offensive against IS militants since mid-July, 39 civilians were killed and 148 injured, the report stated,

“Casualty figures obtained from the Anbar Health Directorate might not fully reflect the real number of casualties in those areas due to the increased volatility of the situation on the ground and the disruption of services.”

Since November 2012, the deadliest month for Iraq’s civilians has been June 2014, when IS insurgents seized large swaths of western and northern Iraq after spilling over from Syria.

The UN tallied 1,513 civilians killed during that period, and the number stayed above 1,100 during the next two months, respectively.

IS militants had been seizing Iraqi cities, such as Fallujah, in Anbar, as early as January 2014, when the UN documented 618 Iraqi civilian deaths.

Between January 1, 2014, and the end of April 2015, civilian death toll in Iraq amounted to 14,947, with 3,345 perishing between December 11, 2014, and April 30, 2015, according to an earlier UN report.

 Turkish Workers Kidnapped

Gunmen in military uniform seized 18 Turkish workers from a sports stadium they were building in northeastern Baghdad on Wednesday, their company said, in what Ankara said appeared to have been a targeted attack.

The workers were taken in the predominantly Shia district of Habibiya, Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman Brigadier General Saad Maan said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said investigators in both countries were cooperating.

“People dressed in military uniforms broke down the door at 3 a.m. (local time) and abducted all these people,” said Ugur Dogan, chief executive of Nurol Holding, which owns the construction firm.

Two police sources said the gunmen had arrived in a convoy of black sports utility vehicles. Maan denied reports that up to three Iraqis had also been abducted, and put the number of people kidnapped at 16.

A spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Turkish nationals had been specifically picked out by the attackers, without giving further details.

  Ankara Facing Backlash

Diplomats have said Turkey could suffer reprisals after abandoning months of reticence to launch airstrikes against IS in neighboring Syria and open its bases to a US-led coalition fighting the extremists.

An IS video released last month accused Turkish President recep Tayyip Erdogan of “selling the country to crusaders” and of allowing US access to Turkish bases “just to keep his post.”

Last year, 46 Turkish citizens were seized by IS militants in the Iraqi city of Mosul. They were released unharmed after more than three months in captivity.

The government in Baghdad has intensified security in the city this week ahead of plans to ease access to the fortified Green Zone and eliminate no-go zones set up by militias and political parties.

Kurtulmus also said no contact had been established with a Turkish soldier who went missing late on Tuesday following cross-border fire from IS-held territory in northern Syria, which left one other soldier dead.