BEIRUT

Middle East

UN: 5,576 civilians killed in Iraq this year

An Iraqi youth mourns over the coffin of a relative wrapped in the national flag at one of the world's biggest cemeteries in the holy Shiite city of Najaf July 14, 2014. (AFP Photo/Haidar Hamdani)

BAGHDAD: At least 5,576 Iraqi civilians have been killed this year in violence, the United Nations said Friday in the most detailed account yet of the impact of months of unrest culminating in an assault by Sunni militants through the north of the country.

At least 11,665 have been wounded since January, when Sunni insurgents led by Al-Qaeda offshoot now known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) overran the city of Falluja in the western province of Anbar, the U.N. said in a report.

Last month, the insurgents seized swath of northern Iraq, including the area's largest city Mosul. Of the 2,400 people killed in June, 1,531 were civilians, the U.N. said earlier this month.

The report documents what it calls "systematic and egregious violations" of international law by the group now calling itself the ISIS.

The U.N. found the group had executed civilians, committed sexual violence against women and girls, carried out kidnappings and targeted assassinations of political, community, and religious leaders and killed children, among other violations.

The report also details violations committed by government forces and affiliated groups, citing "summary executions/extrajudicial killings of prisoners and detainees," which it said may constitute a war crime.

The U.N. noted that the "deteriorating security situation" had limited its ability to directly monitor and verify incidents.

More than 1.2 million people had been displaced since violence escalated last month, according to the report.

 

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