Latest figures released by the UN show that acts of terrorism and violence left nearly 900 people dead in May as Takfiri Daesh militants step up their terror activities in the face of large-scale army operations.
According to the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), a total of 867 Iraqis lost their lives last month, and 1,459 others were injured.
The UN mission added that there were 468 civilians among those killed, while the number of civilian injuries hit 1,041. Violence also claimed the lives of 399 members of the Iraqi security forces, and 418 others sustained injuries.
A large number of the fatalities were recorded in Baghdad, where 267 civilians were killed and 740 others wounded.
The troubled northern province of Nineveh saw 56 people killed. A total of 49 people died and 93 others were wounded in Iraq’s eastern province of Diyala.
Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq Jan Kubis expressed remorse over the continuing loss of life as a result of violence in Iraq.
He urged the Baghdad government to take more effective measures to protect civilians against terrorist attacks.
“Iraqi civilians going about their daily life have been the target of terrorist bombers and car bombs. In some of these attacks, pilgrims have been singled out. Residential neighborhoods have sustained heavy damage. Armed clashes have spared no one,” the UN official said.
Kubis added, however, that “the will of the Iraqi people, despite all the carnage, remains unshaken and this gives hope for the future. Joining the people of Iraq, in particular the residents of Baghdad where a number of attacks took place, I urge the government to make every effort to prevent the occurrence of such outrages.”
Last month, Baghdad saw two of its bloodiest days since the outbreak of Daesh violence in the country in 2014.
Nearly 100 people lost their lives and over 170 others sustained injuries on May 11, when the terror group targeted mainly-Shia neighborhoods of Baghdad, while similar terror attacks left some 162 people killed and wounded in the capital a week later on May 17.
Iraqi government forces are seen deploying in an area on the southern outskirts of Fallujah on June 1, 2016 during fighting against Takfiri Daesh terrorists. (© AFP)
20,000 children trapped in Fallujah
Meanwhile, the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) says at least 20,000 children are trapped in the beleaguered western Iraqi city of Fallujah, located roughly 69 kilometers (43 miles) west of Baghdad, and run the risk of being forced to fight for Daesh terrorists.
“UNICEF estimates that at least 20,000 children remain trapped in the city,” said Peter Hawkins, the UN agency’s representative in Iraq.
“Children face the risk of forced recruitment into the fighting” and “separation from their families” if they manage to escape the city, stressed Hawkins, adding, “UNICEF calls on all parties to protect children inside Fallujah, provide safe passage to those wishing to leave the city and grant safe and secure environment to civilians who fled Fallujah.”
There are reports that Daesh is using hundreds of families as human shields in the center of Fallujah, and is executing men and boys who refuse to fight for the terror network.
The northern and western parts of Iraq have been plagued by violence ever since Daesh terrorists began an offensive through Iraqi territory in June 2014.
Iraqi army soldiers and fighters from Popular Mobilization units are seeking to win back militant-held regions in joint operations.