Levels of violence in Iraq last month dropped off dramatically despite a string of attacks over the Eid al-Adha Muslim holiday that were claimed by Al-Qaeda, figures released on Thursday showed. Monthly casualty tolls compiled separately by government officials and AFP both showed a significant decline, dropping to the lowest level since the beginning of the summer.
A total of 144 people were killed -- 88 civilians, 31 policemen and 25 soldiers -- in October, according to figures compiled by Iraq's ministries of health, interior and defence. An AFP tally based on reports from security and medical officials, meanwhile, put the figure at 136 dead.
Overall, 264 people were wounded, including 110 civilians, 92 policemen and 62 soldiers, the government figures showed. The death toll compiled by officials represented a sharp decline from September, when nationwide violence left 365 dead, and was the lowest such figure since June.
Despite the drop off, militants were still able to carry out massive attacks, particularly over the four-day Eid holiday during which 44 people were killed. The shootings and bombings were claimed by Al-Qaeda's front group. Levels of violence are markedly lower nationwide since Iraq's sectarian war of 2006 and 2007, but attacks are still common.