According to the Iraqi Health Ministry, the number of civilians killed in the month of June ended at 373, nearly three times the number killed in May. The number fell just shy of April’s toll of 395, which was itself the deadliest in nearly a year.
The toll largely came in the second half of the month, in a series of high profile bombings. Baghdad’s Shi’ite neighborhoods and the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk saw the largest tolls, each losing over 100 civilians.
Virtually all of the attacks targeted Shi’ite neighborhoods and religious sites. In April the situation was similar, though a large number of the victims then were Shi’ite pilgrims from neighboring Iran. The violence has been blamed on a combination of al-Qaeda and remnants of the Ba’athist regime.
Both President Barack Obama and Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell have dismissed concern about the enormous death toll, with Morrell insisting that the “overall security climate is a good one” and Obama lauded “dramatic improvements” in the nation.