Iraq's death toll in June was the highest in 7 years

– More than 2,400 Iraqis were killed in June, the highest monthly death toll in seven years.

Figures released Tuesday by the United Nations showed that at least 2,417 Iraqis were killed and 2,287 injured across the country. More than 60 percent of the dead were civilians.

The U.N. statistics did not include casualties from the western province of Anbar, where insurgents are locked in clashes with Iraqi security forces. At least 244 civilians were killed and 588 injured there, according to provincial health officials.

It was the deadliest 30-day period since mid-2007, the height of Iraq's sectarian war, when more than 2,000 civilians were killed every month.

"The staggering number of civilian casualties in one month points to the urgent need for all to ensure that civilians are protected," said the ranking U.N. official in Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov.

The worst affected area was Baghdad, where 375 civilians were killed.

Fears of further violence grew Tuesday after mortar shells struck the perimeter of Al-Askari mosque in Samarra, killing at least one person and wounding 14. The mosque is one of the holiest sites in Shiite Islam, and its destruction by Sunni insurgents in 2006 was the catalyst for the years of sectarian bloodletting that followed.

Los Angeles Times