Friday, May 25, 2007


Sectarian deaths in Baghdad increasing again

(KUNA) - Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Peter Pace on Thursday confirmed that the rate of sectarian deaths in Baghdad has begun increasing again. Looking at the numbers since President George W. Bush announced a U.S. troop surge into Baghdad early this year, Pace reported that there were more than 1,400 murders in Baghdad in January, which he attributed to "sectarian violence, et cetera." That number fell to 800 in February, and to just over 500 in March, he said. The number remained fairly constant in March and April with just over 500 in each of those months, he said.
"This month it is a little bit higher, maybe about 20 or 30 higher than it was at this time last month," Pace said during a joint Pentagon briefing with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates. "But inside of those numbers it is very difficult to parse out which death is caused by what kind of activity," Pace said. "But clearly the overall violence levels are down, whereas inside there may be a bomb one month that goes off that takes a larger toll than another one." One of the main goals of the U.S. troop surge was to help quell sectarian violence in Baghdad order to allow the Iraqi government a better opportunity to achieve political reconciliation.

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