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Number Of Civilians Killed In Iraq Jumps In June

U.S. soldiers fold their national flag during a departure ceremony at Olsen camp in Samarra
BAGHDAD (Reuters) -- The number of civilians killed in Iraq jumped to 373 in June, the Health Ministry said, up from a record low of 134 in May because of a spate of deadly bombings in Baghdad and northern Iraq.

The number of U.S. troops killed in combat fell marginally to 10, from 12 in May, according to website, which collates official data.

U.S. forces completed their withdrawal from Iraq's cities on June 30, raising fears militants will try to exploit a security gap to step up attacks. U.S. commanders say Iraqi forces are up to the challenge and will be helped by U.S. troops trying to disrupt the movements of members of militant networks.

The June death toll, though sharply up from May, was still below the 395 people killed last April, including more than 100 Iranian pilgrims hit by bomb attacks near Iraq's holiest Shi'ite Muslim shrines.

Two of Iraq's biggest bombings this year were carried out in the past month -- one in Baghdad and one in the northern city of Kirkuk -- between them killing around 150 people.

The death toll in June 2008 was 448 civilians.

At least 4,317 U.S. troops have died in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, official figures show. Close to 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed in Iraq in violence during that time, according to