BAGHDAD // September was the deadliest month in Iraq in more than two years, with 365 people killed in violence that included waves of country-wide attacks, official figures released today showed.
Insurgents are regarded as weaker than when violence reached its peak in 2006 and 2007, but they remain capable of carrying out mass-casualty attacks across Iraq.
The statistics compiled by the health, interior and defence ministries showed that 182 civilians, 88 police and 95 soldiers were killed in attacks in September.
Another 683 people were wounded — 453 civilians, 110 police and 120 soldiers, according to the figures.
It was the highest monthly toll given by the government since August 2010, when figures showed 426 people killed and 838 wounded in attacks.
The previous deadliest month this year was July, when 325 people were killed in attacks, according to official figures.
The worst violence of the month occurred on September 8 and 9, when a wave of more than 30 attacks killed 88 people and wounded more than 400.
Yesterday was the second-deadliest day in September, with at least 33 people killed and 106 wounded in attacks, which occurred in Baghdad and the nearby areas of Taji, Madain and Tarmiyah, and also hit Kut, Mosul, south of the northern oil city of Kirkuk, and areas around Baquba.
In Baghdad's central Karrada district, a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-packed car, scattering debris for dozens of metres from the site of the blast, shattering store windows and smashing cars.
"I was in my shop and I heard the sound of a very powerful explosion," said another store owner who gave his name only as Abu Ihab. "Dust was everywhere.
"When the explosion happens, it does not care about any security measures. I sit in my shop and I am afraid for my life."
The deadly violence in Iraq and a lack of basic services are two of the main complaints against the government.
"We are tired of this government," said Haidar Mohammed, an employee of a shop on the street hit by the Sunday blast. "The government does not do anything."
September also saw a brazen prison break in the city of Tikrit in which 102 inmates, among them 47 alleged Al Qaeda members who had been sentenced to death, managed to escape, according to the interior ministry.
The ministry said that weapons had been smuggled into the prison during family visits, and that inmates were also able to seize a guard's weapon, and take others from an armoury.
The inmates launched an uprising in the prison, taking control of the facility. Two high-ranking police officers also reported that militants outside the prison detonated explosives at the facility's perimeter to aid the escape.
Out of the 102 fugitives, four had been killed and 23 captured as of last Friday, according to the ministry, which also said that 16 security forces members were killed in clashes related to the incident.