Iraq: Amnesty International greatly concerned by rising toll of civilian killings, including for discriminatory motives
According to a recent UN report, 5818 civilians were killed and at least 5762 wounded in May and June 2006. Today 35 people were reportedly killed in a suicide bomb attack in the southern city of Najaf. Further, scores of people, mostly young or adult men, have been abducted and murdered; often, their hands had been tied and they appear to have been tortured before death.
The killings are continuing despite a security operation involving thousands of Iraqi government troops and the recent deployment of nearly 4,000 US troops in Baghdad. Amnesty International has repeatedly condemned the deliberate killings of civilians by armed groups opposed to the Iraqi government and the presence of foreign troops. Such killings and other abuses by armed groups amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Almost 2,000 bodies taken to Baghdad morgue
Iraqi PM apologises for American tactics
US attempts to control spiralling sectarian violence in Baghdad ran into immediate problems yesterday, as Iraq's Prime Minister sharply criticised American tactics and made a televised apology to the Iraqi people.
Iraqi Premier Nouri al-Maliki responded angrily to a US-led attack in the Sadr City area of Baghdad, the stronghold of radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
The raid left three people dead, including one child, and sparked fears of a violent response from the cleric's powerful Mehdi army militia.
In a television broadcast, al-Maliki said he was "very angered and pained" by the operation, warning that it could undermine his efforts toward national reconciliation.
He went on to apologise to the Iraqi people for the operation and said: "This won't happen again."
US military defends Baghdad raid slammed by PM
Requiem for Baghdad; The City is Dying
Iraq's handling of oil wealth faulted
Security incidents in Iraq, Aug 10