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Iraq death toll down sharply in 2011


Iraq's death toll from violence in 2011 fell sharply from previous years, with nearly 1,000 fewer people being killed than in 2009 and 2010, official figures showed Sunday.

A total of 2,645 people were killed last year as a result of violence, with December 2011 marking one of the lowest monthly tolls since the 2003 US-led invasion that ousted dictator Saddam Hussein.

Figures compiled by the ministries of health, interior and defence showed that 1,578 civilians were killed in attacks last year, along with 609 policemen and 458 soldiers.

Overall, 4,413 Iraqis were wounded in the violence, the figures showed.

The death toll represents a marked decline from previous years -- a total of 3,605 were killed in 2010, and 3,481 in 2009 -- and is sharply lower than when a brutal sectarian war engulfed Iraq in 2006 and 2007.

In 2007 alone, official figures show that 17,956 people died as a result of violence.

December 2011 also saw one of the lowest monthly death tolls since 2003, with 155 Iraqis killed overall -- 90 civilians, 36 policemen and 29 soldiers, the figures showed.

Last year also marked the end of the US military presence in Iraq, with a total of 4,474 American soldiers having died in the country since the invasion, according to the US Defence Department.

In a country where there were once nearly 170,000 troops and as many as 505 bases, just 157 soldiers remain under the authority of the US embassy, charged with training their Iraqi counterparts.