July was Iraq's deadliest month in more than two years, according to new official figures, suggesting that a resilient insurgency is successfully taking advantage of the months of political deadlock. The figures released late yesterday show that 535 people were killed last month, the highest since May 2008 when 563 died, heightening concerns over Iraq's precarious security situation even as US troops pull out.
The US military vehemently rejected the casualty numbers today, however, countering that its own data show that only 222 Iraqis were killed in July. "We do our very best to ensure the numbers we report are as accurate as can be," said a spokesman. Iraq's figures also showed 1,043 people were wounded last month. Of those killed, the ministries identified 396 as civilians, 89 as policemen and 50 as soldiers.