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Last Updated: Friday, 20 July 2007, 09:04 GMT 10:04 UK
Iraq violence: Monitoring the surge

An extra 30,000 US troops have been deployed in Iraq, mainly in and around the capital Baghdad, since the launch of the security drive, or "surge", in February.

The BBC World Service is monitoring its effects, week by week, by looking at casualty figures, the pressure on hospitals and quality of life for ordinary civilians.

The graphics and analysis are based on figures from the US and Iraqi authorities, Baghdad's hospitals and three families from different neighbourhoods in the capital.



The US has suggested the fight against insurgency in Iraq could last a decade or more. US commanders say casualties are mounting as more soldiers patrol outside their heavily-defended bases.

In addition to operations in and around Baghdad, large contingents of US and Iraqi soldiers are heavily engaged trying to drive insurgents from Baquba, in Diyala province, and from the Euphrates valley in Anbar province.

During the seven-day period to 18 July there were some 633 violent deaths in the country - up by about 58 on the previous week.

Military casualties, both American and Iraqi, were down, as was the number of Iraqi police who were killed.

But civilians continued to bear the brunt of the violence with 463 deaths - the highest number in any of the past five weeks. More than 400 were wounded.

The number of reported insurgent deaths rose from 51 to 87, and the number of arrests is reported to have almost doubled to 364.



Fuel shortages remain a major problem for Iraqis, with long power cuts and fuel queues a common feature of civilian life, particularly in Baghdad.

The families helping paint a picture of these hardships in this survey are from different areas of the city - which can mean different pressures according to the religious make-up of the area and the subsequent security risks.

Map showing locations of families

Family 1 is located in Palestine Street, a Shia neighbourhood in the east of the capital.

Family 2 is located in Zayouna, a mixed neighbourhood in south-east Baghdad.

Family 3 lives in Saba Abkar, a northern Sunni neighbourhood.

None of the three families had more than three hours of electricity a day. The Zayouna family's daily supply from the grid got back up to three hours daily after a dip last week of just 20 minutes a day.

For the third week running, the family in Saba Abkar had only 20 minutes a day from the grid.

Some other districts, including Adhamiya and Shuala, have not had electricity from the grid all week. The Iraqi parliament had to postpone its session last Tuesday due to lack of power.

The black-market cost of fuel held its price at 27,000 Iraqi dinars (US $22) for 20 litres, three times the forecourt price.

And day-long queues were again reported at some petrol stations.

Gas cylinders are fetching 30,000 Iraqi dinars ($24.50) on the black market compared with a forecourt price of 4,000.

People in the Adhamiya district reported food shortages after food lorries were only allowed into the area after being checked by the Iraqi army. Some lorry owners complained they have to pay bribes to get in.



Mutilated bodies are still a familiar sight in Baghdad hospitals.

Al-Yarmouk reported 46 bodies were brought in, all beheaded. The victims included men, women and children - eight from one family. Other victims included four members of staff from the electricity ministry and 15 from the police force.

At al-Kindi, 15 victims killed in violence were reported - eight less than the previous week. At both hospitals, the numbers wounded in violent incidents rose on last week's total.

Al-Kindi hospital also reported that the number of patients treated for common illnesses was between 500 and 600 a day, while the hospital used to treat 800 a day before the US-led invasion in 2003.

Baghdad's forensic department reported that between 1 July and 16 July it had received an additional 270 bodies that had not been claimed by relatives.

Data compiled by BBC producer Mona Mahmoud


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