(BAGHDAD) — Political instability, al Qaeda and growing violence in Syria all contributed to Iraq’s deadliest month in two years.
According to government figures, 325 people were killed in July as the result of insurgent-related violence — the most since 426 Iraqis died in August 2010.
Civilian fatalities accounted for the bulk of July’s death toll across the country, while 80 members of the national security forces were also killed.
Meanwhile, close to 700 were wounded in various assaults that mostly centered in Baghdad and north of the capital.
Iraq’s health, interior and defense ministries also reported that the July 23 series of coordinated attacks that left 107 people dead was the bloodiest single day in Iraq since Dec. 8, 2009, when 126 deaths were reported across the country.
Much of July’s violence has been blamed on the rise of sectarian tensions brought on by discontent with the government of Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as well as a resurgent al Qaeda that has vowed to take back territories it ceded to coalition forces before the U.S. troops’ withdrawal at the end of 2011.
The ongoing conflict in Syria that has forced many Iraqi expatriates to return to their homeland has also been blamed for the spike in violence.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Samantha Beech, CNN
Joe Sterling and Darran Simon, CNN
Eliza Mackintosh, CNN