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January Deadliest Month In Iraq In More Than Five Years

A man sobs over the shrouded body of his son, who was killed by a car-bomb attack, before his burial at a cemetery in Najaf, south of Baghdad, on January 31.
Reports from Iraq say at least 23 people have been killed in a spate of car bombings in and around Baghdad.

Seven car bombs exploded in Baghdad and on the outskirts of the Iraqi capital on February 3, killing at least 19 people.

Authorities said they also found the bodies of four people dumped in the street in a southwestern Baghdad neighborhood.

News of the fatalities came with Iraq suffering its most deadly wave of violence in more than five years.

The Iraqi government said more than 1,000 people -- mostly civilians -- were killed in violence across the country in January.

That figure includes 795 civilians, 122 soldiers, and 96 police officers.

The death toll is the highest since April 2008, when 1,073 people were killed.

Casualties have surged in recent weeks as security forces and their tribal allies have battled Sunni militants in the western province of Anbar.

The UN says the fighting has forced more than 140,000 people to flee their homes.

Scores of killings have also been blamed on long-running political and sectarian violence between minority Sunnis and majority Shi’ites.

Possible Fallujah Offensive In Anbar

According to the latest reports from Anbar Province, Iraqi forces have been pressing operations against Islamist militants in advance of a possible offensive inside Fallujah.

The Defense Ministry, quoted by the Reuters news agency, said troops and allied Sunni tribesmen had killed 57 militants, mostly on the outskirts of the Anbar capital, Ramadi.

On February 3, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq reported continued fighting in Ramadi's southern districts, as government forces sought to reclaim territory held by militants.

The broadcaster also quoted a military official as saying that the army is ready to move into Fallujah, but no order for an assault to oust militants from the city has been given yet.

Based on reporting by AFP, Reuters, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq, RT, and Press TV