Middle East

March deaths Iraq's lowest since 2003

Mourners carry a coffin draped with Iraqi flags during the funeral procession for Shaima Alawadi in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, March 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

BAGHDAD: Official figures showed that 112 people were killed by violence in Iraq in March, the lowest monthly death toll for Iraqis since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

The figures compiled by the defense, interior and health ministries were released late Sunday and also showed that 357 were wounded last month.

The total death toll included 78 civilians, 22 policemen and 12 soldiers.

The previous monthly low was in November 2009 when 122 died.

The bloodiest incidents were a series of coordinated attacks in eight Iraqi cities on March 20 as insurgents sought to derail an Arab League meeting in Baghdad. In one day, 46 people were killed and more than 200 wounded.

Despite that, tight security measures that were imposed in advance of the Friday summit appear to have prevented further attacks.

Iraqi officials said that new plans will be put in place in order to ease security measures and to decrease the number of checkpoints in the capital and other cities.

Violence has dropped significantly in Iraq over the past three years, but insurgents often carry out attacks in order to shake confidence on the Shiite-led government.





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