Iraq death toll passes 500 in May


Iraqi men gather at the scene of one of the two car bombs that exploded in Baghdad’s Habibiyah area on Tuesday. AFP PHOTO

BAGHDAD: Violence in Iraq has killed more than 500 people in May, Agence France-Presse figures showed on Tuesday, as authorities struggled to contain a wave of unrest that has raised fears of new sectarian conflict.

Meanwhile, a United Nations envoy urged Iraqi leaders to meet to resolve a long-running political crisis that is often linked to the inability of the country’s security forces to reduce levels of violence.

As of Monday, 503 people were killed and 1,273 wounded, making May the deadliest month in at least a year, according to the data, based on reports from security and medical officials.

May is the second month in a row in which more than 400 people have been killed, for a total of 960 people in the two months.

A wave of attacks, including bombings in Baghdad that mainly targeted Shiite areas, killed 58 people on Monday and wounded 187, officials said.

“I once again urge all Iraqi leaders to do everything possible to protect Iraqi civilians. It is their responsibility to stop the bloodshed now,” United Nations envoy Martin Kobler said in a statement on Tuesday.

“It is the politicians’ responsibility to act immediately and to engage in dialogue to resolve the political impasse and not let terrorists benefit from their political differences,” he said.

Iraq is faced with various long-running political crises over issues ranging from power-sharing to territorial boundaries, that have paralyzed the government.


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