The United Nations has said that at least 733 Iraqis were killed during violence in January, even when leaving out casualties from an embattled western province of Anbar.
The figures issued on Saturday by the UN’s mission to Iraq (UNAMI) show that 618 civilians and 115 members of the security forces were killed last month.
Baghdad was the worst affected province, with 297 killed and 585 wounded.
But the UNAMI statement excluded deaths from the ongoing fighting in Anbar province, due to problems in verifying the “status of those killed.” The figures also leave out the deaths of armed fighters.
I am deeply alarmed by the humanitarian situation of thousands of displaced families and particularly of those stranded in Fallujah
Local tribes, many of them linked to al-Qaeda, seized control of the city of Fallujah and parts of the Anbar provincial capital, Ramadi, in December after authorities dismantled a protest camp by Sunnis angry at their treatment by the Shia-led government.
The government and its tribal allies have besieged the rebel-held areas, with fighting reported daily.
The government on Saturday launched a combined air and artillery attack on the city of Fallujah killing at least 15 fighters, the defence ministry said.
UN mission chief Nickolay Mladenov expressed deep concern over the humanitarian situation in Anbar, saying thousands of families were displaced and others stranded in the besieged city.
“I am deeply alarmed by the humanitarian situation of thousands of displaced families and particularly of those stranded in Fallujah. They lack water, fuel, food, medicine and other basic commodities,” he said.
Last week, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said that 140,000 Iraqis had fled from Anbar, the largest displacement of civilians in the country since the sectarian violence of 2006-2008.
A few days ago, the International Committee of the Red Cross said it had delivered aid, such as blankets, food and kitchen sets, to more than 3,000 people in the centre of Fallujah.
In the ongoing violence, police said a bomb went off near an outdoor market in the southern suburbs of Baghdad, killing two people and wounding eight.
Also, a roadside bomb hit an army patrol in the Mishahda area just north of Baghdad, killing one soldier and wounding five others.