BAGHDAD – The United Nations mission to Iraq says violence claimed the lives of 7,818 civilians in 2013, the highest annual death toll in years.
The U.N. figures issued Wednesday gave a total of 759 people killed in December alone, including 661 civilians and 98 members of the security forces.
The U.N.'s monthly figures for both civilians and security forces over the year totaled 8,868.
Violence in Iraq surged in April after the Shiite-led government staged a deadly crackdown on a Sunni protest camp.
Iraq's al-Qaida branch has capitalized on the soaring sectarian tensions and on the civil war in neighboring Syria to rebuild itself. It has targeted civilians, particularly in Shiite areas of Baghdad, with waves of coordinated car bombings and other deadly attacks.