The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) on Monday said that the 386 Iraqi civilians killed in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in December brought the 2016 total to an “absolute minimum” of 6,878.
UNAMI says that the true figure will be much higher, as it has not been able to account for deaths in conflict areas, or for those that have died because of the secondary effects of the on going violence – a lack of food and water, and limited access to medicines and medical support, as well as exposure.
In December 1,066 others were recorded as injured in the violence, a total of 12,388 for the year. Unsurprisingly the governorate of Nineveh, the capital of which is Mosul, had the highest instance of civilian casualties for the final month of 2016.
“Though the figures for December are lower than previous months, we are nevertheless noticing an increase in terrorist bombings towards the end of the month and in the last couple of days, targeting civilians”, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG) Ján Kubiš said in a statement released Monday.
“This is, no doubt, an attempt by Daesh [ISIL] to divert attention from their losses in Mosul and, unfortunately, it is the innocent civilians who are paying the price”, he added.
The deadliest single attack by ISIL in Iraq in 2016 was the July 3 suicide truck bomb that targeted shoppers in the Shia-majority district of Karrada, Baghdad. The area was extremely busy with shoppers breaking their Ramadan fast, and at least 323 people were killed.