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Tuesday
Jul022013

June Death Toll in Iraq Drops Despite Ongoing Violence

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The United Nations reported on Monday that the June death toll in Iraq from ongoing insurgent violence was 761.

This number represented about a 25-percent drop-off from the previous month, when more than 1,000 deaths were recorded by the international agency.

Most of those killed are civilians, exposing weaknesses in the government's ability to protect its people from car and suicide bombings -- the insurgents' usual mode of attack.

The casualty figures are down significantly from the height of the Iraq war several years ago, when 2,000 fatalities per month was not uncommon.

However, what has been worrisome lately is the rise in sectarian-related violence perpetuated by al Qaeda militants to stir up simmering hostilities between the majority Shiites and minority Sunnis.

Even without al Qaeda causing problems, both Sunnis and Kurds from northern Iraq have been largely unhappy with Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's governance, which could be in jeopardy when national elections are held next year.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio