October 1, 2009 / 3:46 PM / in 8 years

Iraq says Sept civilian deaths lowest since war began

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The number of civilians killed in Iraq in September fell to 125, the lowest level since the 2003 U.S. invasion, according to figures from Iraq’s Health Ministry released on Thursday.

<p>Iraqi policemen examine the car that was used in an attack at an Iraqi checkpoint in southwest Baghdad's Amil district September 29, 2009. REUTERS/Bassim Shati</p>

The figure is less than half the toll of 393 in August, when two massive truck bombs on August 19 in Baghdad near government ministries killed almost 100 people and a series of bombings devastated small northern towns.

The tally is also sharply lower than last year’s September death toll of 359.

Violence has fallen in Iraq since the height of sectarian killings between Shi‘ite and Sunni Muslims in 2006 and 2007, but roadside bombs, suicide bombings and shootings are still common.

The U.S. military said attacks had decreased overall by 85 percent during the past two years. In August 2007, there were 4064 attacks compared to 594 in August 2009 and 563 in September.

On Tuesday, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross’ Iraq delegation, Juan-Pedro Schaerer, told Reuters the lingering violence should not be considered “normal” and warned against complacency in efforts to increase respect for human life in the country.

Close to 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed in Iraq violence since U.S. forces toppled Saddam Hussein more than six years ago according to www.iraqbodycount.org.

Writing by Mohammed Abbas

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