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Iraq Civilian Death Toll Up In November; U.S. Deaths Down

Iraqi police inspect a burnt bus at the site of a bomb attack in Baghdad on November 24.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) -- The number of civilians killed in Iraq rose last month after a series of Baghdad bombings, but the U.S. military death toll fell to its lowest level since the war began in 2003, data showed.

Iraqi government figures showed 296 civilians died violent deaths in November, up from 238 in October, which had been the lowest tally since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Last year's November civilian death toll was 538.

Just six U.S. service members were killed in hostile action in November, the lowest monthly toll of the war according to statistics from website, which collates official data.

Seven U.S. troops were killed in hostile action in October, while 29 were killed in November last year.

Violence has fallen sharply in Iraq over the past year, but insurgents have shown themselves still capable of conducting large-scale attacks.

Officials said a series of Baghdad bombings last month aimed at derailing a parliamentary vote on a controversial security deal with Washington, which was approved on November 27.

A bomb blast killed 13 female government employees on a bus and a female suicide bomber killed five people outside Baghdad's Green Zone compound on the same day last week.

Under the security pact the U.S. military, which has just under 150,000 troops in Iraq, is set to withdraw from Iraqi towns and cities by the middle of next year and leave the country by the end of 2011.

Since the invasion, a total of 4,207 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq or in surrounding areas where troops are stationed, including those killed by nonhostile causes such as accidents or illness. At least 90,000 civilians have been killed, according to