August was the second deadliest month for Iraqi civilians since the US troop surge began, the AP reports, with almost half the deaths occurring on just one disastrous day. At least 1,809 Iraqis were killed last month, compared to 2,100 in December, just before the surge began. On August 14, four suicide bombings killed 520 people in the war’s single deadliest day.
The number of killed coalition troops dropped slightly last month to 85 from 88 in July. AP calculates the average rate of coalition deaths per day at 2.74, the second lowest since the surge began, down from a peak of 4.23 per day in May. US officials have been trumpeting declining troop casualties ahead of a series of reports to Congress on Iraq’s progress that could decide the fate of the war.