Iraq has seen a steep drop in overall violence since June last year, but US military statistics show the number of suicide bomb attacks has risen slightly since reaching a low in October.

Violent deaths among Iraqis fell to a 22-month low in December, figures obtained from the defence, interior and health ministries showed.

The 568 deaths - 480 civilians, 24 soldiers and 64 police -- showed a continuing fall from the previous month's figures - 606 in November, 887 in October and 840 in September.

Mirroring the fall in Iraqi deaths, combat losses among US troops also dropped to a 22-month low at 21 in December, according to an AFP tally based on Pentagon figures, although 2007 remained the deadliest since the 2003 invasion.