Skip to main content

April the deadliest month in Iraq in 5 years

By Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
updated 11:54 AM EDT, Thu May 2, 2013
Wounded Iraqi men rest at a hospital in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil on April 25, 2013.
Wounded Iraqi men rest at a hospital in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil on April 25, 2013.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • April's total is the deadliest since June 2008
  • Most of it occurs in Baghdad
  • Violence results from tensions between Sunnis and Shi'ites but targets others as well

Read a version of this story in Arabic.

(CNN) -- More people died violently in Iraq in April than in any other month in nearly five years, the United Nations said Thursday.

A total of 712 people died and 1,633 more sustained injuries "in acts of terrorism and acts of violence," the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq said.

Civilians made up most of the victims, 595 in total. 1,438 civilians were injured. Baghdad saw the most deaths with a total of 697 civilian fatalities.

April's total was the deadliest since June 2008, UNAMI said.

Iraq at a crossroads as bombs explode

Why are Iraq's Sunnis so upset?
Syrian civil war stokes violence in Iraq

Since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's government Sunni Arabs have been politically marginalized and Shiites, who represent a majority of Iraqis, have emerged with more power.

There have been protests for months by Sunni Arabs against the Shiite-led government and its prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki. The anger has escalated since a confrontation last week between police and protesters in Hawija.

The International Crisis Group last month said that the "failure to integrate Sunni Arabs into a genuinely representative political system in Baghdad risks turning Iraq's domestic crisis into a broader regional struggle."

"The most urgent task today is to tamp down the flames, and the burden for this lies above all with the government," the Belgium-based think tank said in a report.

"The country is at a crossroads," said Martin Kobler, U.N. special representative in Iraq.

Some Iraqi leaders and international powers fear that tensions between Sunnis and Shiites could escalate and bring a return of a full-blown sectarian war.

Meet the man who sculpted Sadam Hussein

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:39 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Tethered to an IV drip, 71-year-old Shin Young Ja lies under a thin fleece blanket, nursing a broken back and wracked with survivor's guilt.
updated 7:23 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Family members of the missing passengers are pinning slim hopes on floundering air pockets.
updated 12:14 PM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
An Iranian mother slaps and then forgives her 17-year old son's murderer in dramatic scenes at the gallows.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
updated 8:30 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Explore each side's case, reconstructed from Pistorius' court affidavit and the prosecution's case during last year's bail hearing.
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Mentions of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests or political reform are still censored in China.
updated 5:34 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
The Hadza are one of the last communities of hunter-gatherers in the world -- but losing their land.
updated 9:22 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
In choosing to change a traditional practice, Francis is being as radical as Jesus was in his own time.
updated 7:13 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Too weak. Can't handle pressure. Unattractive to sponsors. Susie Wolff has heard it all.
updated 11:56 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
updated 8:30 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
It's like finding a needle in a universe-wide haystack. Researchers have located a planet roughly the size of Earth that could be habitable.
updated 5:40 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Dubai, long champion of all things biggest, longest and most expensive, will soon have some competition from a neighboring country.
ADVERTISEMENT