Violent incidents in Iraq are up since January, according to a new Pentagon report. The rise is said to be a response in part to US-led operations against militants launched at the beginning of the year, and it includes more "high-profile" suicide bombings aimed at maximizing the number of casualties. The report called the increase a "short term" result of military offensives against al Qaeda in Iraq and other insurgents.
Nineveh and Diyalah provinces were particularly hard-hit, because militants moved there after abandoning other parts of the country better protected by US-allied Sunni militias, according to officials. But overall, deaths from sectarian violence have dropped by 90% since June, when the US troop surge peaked, says the Pentagon, and total civilian deaths were down 70%.