BAGHDAD, (Reuters) – The death toll from militant attacks across Iraq doubled in September to 365, the highest toll for more than two years, with most of them killed in bomb attacks, according to government figures released on Monday.
The insurgents have launched one major assault a month since U.S. troops withdrew in December.
The bloodiest day of the last month was Sept. 9, when more than 100 people were killed in bomb and gun attacks across Iraq. The coordinated assaults against mostly Shi’ite Muslim targets were claimed by the Iraqi affiliate of the Sunni Muslim al Qaeda.
Iraq has been racked by sectarian slaughter since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Although it is now far off its peak of 2006-2007, the violence has been increasing since the last American troops left as political tensions among Iraq’s main Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish factions have increased.
The latest figures said that 182 civilians, 95 soldiers and 88 policemen had been killed in attacks in September, up from a total of 164 in August. Sixty-four insurgents were killed over the same period.
September’s attacks also wounded a further 683 people, of which 453 were civilians, 120 soldiers and 110 police.
Al Qaeda’s Iraqi wing, the Islamic State of Iraq, said in June that it planned a resurgence after being weakened in a sustained assault by U.S. troops and other Sunni militant groups in 2007.
Some of the attacks over the past two months have been more brazen than before, with militants showing a willingness to engage Iraqi security forces openly in prolonged gun battles.