Smoke rises from the site of a car bomb near the Imam Mahdi Islamic Center in Baghdad, on March 29, 2013
Smoke rises from the site of a car bomb near the Imam Mahdi Islamic Center in Baghdad, on March 29, 2013. March was the deadliest month in Iraq since August with 271 people killed in attacks, according to figures compiled by AFP. The figures showed that violence spiked ahead of the country's first polls since 2010. © Sabah Arar - AFP/File
Smoke rises from the site of a car bomb near the Imam Mahdi Islamic Center in Baghdad, on March 29, 2013
AFP
Last updated: April 1, 2013

March violence spikes in Iraq ahead of polls

March was the deadliest month in Iraq since August with 271 people killed in attacks, figures compiled by AFP showed on Monday, with violence spiking ahead of the country's first polls since 2010.

A total of 906 people were also wounded in the unrest, according to the data based on reports from security and medical officials nationwide, which were sharply higher than figures released by the government.

The death toll was the highest since August 2012, when 278 people died, and was sharply higher than the toll for February, when 220 people were killed and 571 were wounded.

In last month's bloodiest day, 56 people were killed in a spate of bombings and shootings nationwide on March 19, marking the 10th anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Figures compiled by the ministries of health, defence and interior, however, were markedly lower than those tallied by AFP.

According to government figures, 163 people were killed -- 95 civilians, 45 policemen and 23 soldiers -- and 256 others were wounded.

Official data on violence is typically lower than those quoted by news media and NGOs such as Britain-based Iraq Body Count.

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