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Civilian Deaths In Iraq Jump Higher In October

The scene outside the Baghdad governorate building following a bombing on October 25
BAGHDAD (Reuters) -- The number of civilians killed by violence in Iraq jumped higher in October after two huge suicide bombings in Baghdad while the two U.S. soldiers killed in combat in October was the lowest monthly number this year, data showed.

Security sources said 343 civilians were killed, almost half of them in the October 25 attacks on the Justice Ministry and Baghdad governorate building, which dealt a blow to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki as he seeks reelection in January.

The civilian death toll had dropped in September to 125, the lowest level since the 2003 U.S. invasion, as fighting between once dominant Sunnis and majority Shi'ites ebbed and attacks by Sunni Islamist insurgents become less frequent, if still bloody.

October's casualties were higher than the 238 civilians killed in the same month of 2008 but remained lower than the toll in August, when suicide bombers devastated the Foreign and Finance ministries in Baghdad.

The number of U.S. soldiers killed by enemy action, meanwhile, was just two, according to, a reflection of their disappearance from urban centers at the end of June and diminishing role in securing Iraq against insurgents ahead of a full U.S. withdrawal by 2012.

Close to 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed in violence since U.S. forces toppled Saddam Hussein more than six years ago, according to