Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Death toll in Iraq increases since al-Qaida chief's death

NY Times reports, via "The central morgue said Tuesday that it received 1,595 bodies last month, 16 percent more than in May, in a tally that showed the pace of killing here has increased since the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al-Qaida leader in Iraq.

Baghdad, home to one-fourth of the Iraq population, has slowly descended into a low-grade civil war in some neighborhoods, with Sunni and Shiite militias carrying out systematic sectarian killings that clear whole city blocks.

To a large extent, control of the capital means control of the country, and Baghdad is at the center of efforts by American military officials and the new Iraqi government to stem the tide of violence.

After al-Zarqawi was killed on June 7 in an American airstrike, a security plan was initiated, with thousands of troops operating new checkpoints throughout the city, but it has had little effect."


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