Iraq’s civilian toll spikes

UNITED NATIONS – _ Nearly 6,000 civilians were slain across Iraq in May and June, a spike in deaths that coincided with rising sectarian attacks across the country, the United Nations said Tuesday.

The report from the U.N. Assistance Mission in Iraq describes a wave of lawlessness and crime, including assassinations, bombings, kidnappings, torture and intimidation.

Hundreds of teachers, judges, religious leaders and doctors have been targeted for death, and thousands of people have fled, the report said. Evidence suggests militants also have begun to target homosexuals, it said.

In the last two days alone, more than 120 people were killed in violence in Iraq. In the worst attacks, fifty-three perished in a suicide bombing Tuesday in Kufa, and 50 were slain Monday in a market in Mahmoudiya.

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