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Iraq Casualties Rise In January

Iraqis inspect the site of a bomb attack inside a funeral tent in Baghdad's Shula district on January 27.
The Iraqi government says the number of police, civilians and soldiers killed in Iraq rose sharply in January, reaching its highest level since September.

Government figures released today showed that at least 259 people -- 159 civilians, 55 police and 45 soldiers were killed last month.

That's the highest death toll since September when 273 people were killed. Violence has fallen sharply in Iraq since sectarian killings peaked in 2006-2007, but the country remains in the grip of a persistent insurgency.

There was a surge of violence last month, when most of the attacks targeted police and Shi'ite pilgrims gathering in the city of Karbala for a religious rite.

compiled from agency reports