Iraqi Death Toll Rose Above 3,400 in July
By EDWARD WONG and DAMIEN CAVE
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 15 -- July appears to have been the deadliest month of the war for Iraqi civilians, according to figures from the Health Ministry and the Baghdad morgue, reinforcing criticism that the Baghdad security plan started in June by the new Iraqi government has failed.
An average of more than 110 Iraqis were killed each day in July, according to the figures. The total number of civilian deaths that month, 3,438, is a 9 percent increase over the tally in June and nearly double the toll in January.
The rising numbers indicate that sectarian violence is spiraling out of control and seem to bolster an assertion that many senior Iraqi officials and American military analysts have been making in recent months: that the country is already embroiled in a civil war, not just slipping toward one, and that the American-led forces are caught between Sunni Arab guerrillas and Shiite militias.
The numbers also provide the most definitive evidence yet that the Baghdad security plan started by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki on June 14 has not quelled the violence. The plan, much touted by top Iraqi and American officials at the time, relied on setting up more Iraqi-run checkpoints to stymie movement by insurgents. Those officials have since acknowledged the plan has fallen far short of its aims, forcing the American military to add thousands of soldiers to the capital this month and to back away from proposals for a withdrawal of some troops by year's end.
The Baghdad morgue reported receiving 1,855 bodies in July, more than half of the total deaths recorded in the country. The morgue tally for July was an 18 percent increase over June.