BAGHDAD, (Reuters) – The number of civilians killed in Iraq last month more than halved to 359 compared to a year ago, Iraqi government figures showed, and the number of U.S. troops killed in action also fell dramatically.
U.S. combat deaths fell to eight in September, down from 12 last month and vastly reduced from 43 in September last year, statistics from independent Web site www.icasualites.org showed.
Violence in Iraq has fallen to around four-year lows in recent months, but militants have still been capable of large-scale attacks.
A string of bombings last month targeted civilians shopping before their evening meal during the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, and in Iraq’s north, where the U.S. military says al Qaeda is active, violent attacks are carried out almost daily. But September’s toll of 359 civilian deaths was still lower than August’s 382. Some 884 Iraqi civilians were killed in September last year.
The Pentagon will pull 8,000 troops out of Iraq by February, leaving 138,000 soldiers deployed there.
Some 4,175 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq and the surrounding areas where troops are stationed since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, Reuters data showed.
Between 87,919 and 95,954 Iraqi civilians have been killed according www.iraqbodycount.net (IBC), run by academics and peace activists, based on reports from at least two media sources.