BAGHDAD, July 1 (Xinhua) -- The death toll among Iraqis from violence in June declined to 761 compared to May, the United Nations said on Monday.
554 civilians and 207 security troops were killed and 1,771 others were wounded, including 1,389 civilians and 382 security personnel, in terrorist and violent acts in June, a statement by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) showed on Monday.
The Iraqi capital of Baghdad is the worst-affected province with 950 civilian casualties (258 killed, 692 injured), followed respectively by Salahuddin, Nineveh, Diyala, Anbar, Kirkuk, Babil, Wasit Basra and Najaf, the statement said.
In May, 1,045 Iraqis were killed and 2,397 were wounded, which by then was the highest toll since 2008.
Tensions and violence have been escalating between the Sunni and Shiite communities since late December 2012, when the Sunni Muslims started their protests against the Shiite-led government in six of Iraq's predominantly Sunni provinces and the Sunni districts in Baghdad.
The Sunnis accuse the government of marginalizing them, and claim that the Shiite-dominated Iraqi security forces were indiscriminately arresting and torturing their sons.
However, the deadliest waves of violence began after April 23, when Iraqi security forces backed by helicopters stormed an anti- government Sunni protest in the city of Hawijah, some 220 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, killing and wounding dozens of protestors.
The military operation against the sit-in camp in Hawijah sparked further clashes across the country's Sunni-dominated provinces between the Sunni tribes and the security forces.