BAGHDAD, (AP) – July was the deadliest month for Iraqis in more than two years, according to newly released figures that show 535 were killed in violence.
The monthly toll released late Saturday was the highest since May 2008 when 563 were killed.
Violence rose as deadlocked politicians bickered over the formation of the next Iraqi government. It has been nearly five months since a March parliamentary election that failed to produce a clear winner.
Insurgents are thought to be taking advantage of the political impasse, stepping up attacks to try destabilize the country as the U.S. draws down on its forces and leaves the Iraqis in charge of security.
The figures compiled by the defense, interior and health ministries also showed 1,043 people wounded last month.
Of those killed, the ministries identified 396 as civilians, 89 as policemen and 50 as soldiers.
Bombings and mortar attacks targeting Shiites on two religious pilgrimages last month and a bombing against anti-al-Qaida Sunni militiamen south of the capital Baghdad killed 160 people killed and boosted the death toll significantly.
Bombings, assassinations and gunfights remain daily occurrences in Iraq, particularly in the capital, although the overall level of violence has dramatically declined since 2008.
Civilians also accounted for the overwhelming majority of the wounded in July — 680 of the 1,043. There were also 165 soldiers and 198 policemen among the wounded, according to the ministries.