The number of civilians killed in Iraq was falling in the second half of 2007, but rose again briefly at the start of 2008 and now appears to be falling back, according to the latest figures from Iraq Body Count.
The January 2008 figure of 767 was one of the lowest since December 2003, and about one quarter of the post-war peak of July 2006, when over 2,900 people died.
According to Iraq Body Count, between 22,586 and 24,159 civilians were killed in Iraq during 2007.
Many of the killings involve torture and kidnapping, and are typically sectarian in nature. Most of the victims are men, but women and children are also dying in large numbers.
Sectarian violence and insurgent attacks on coalition forces, the Iraqi military and police all tend to create civilian casualties, as can coalition attacks on insurgents.
Civilians also suffer disproportionate casualties when compared with the military - who tend to be the main targets for insurgent attacks.
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