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Last Updated: Friday, 27 July 2007, 09:02 GMT 10:02 UK
Iraq violence: Monitoring the surge
Baghdad

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.

SECURITY

Security

The US has accused Iran of increasing its support for militia groups in Iraq in recent months. Iran denied the claims and said Iraqis were "victimised by terror and the presence of foreign forces".

US officials have unveiled plans for a new "cultural training" programme to improve US soldiers' skills in dealing with local people - such as learning basic Arabic. The aim is to build better relationships with the Iraqi people.

But there have been reports of Iraqis coming under fire from US troops because they were in the same vicinity as insurgent activity. In Adhamiya, US troops are reported to have killed seven people who were close to the scene of a roadside bomb that targeted a US vehicle.

In another incident, US soldiers are reported to have killed three people who were in the area when a US sniper was shot.

During the seven-day period to 25 July the number of violent deaths across the country was 414, which is 219 less than the previous week.

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

Although the number of civilians killed was considerably higher than any other group - 317 - it was much lower than the toll of the previous week.

The number of reported insurgent deaths fell from 87 to 46, and the number of arrests is reported to have fallen by almost half, from 364 to 193.

ECONOMICS

Electricity

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 an hour of electricity from the grid in 24 hours. The Zayouna family's daily supply fell to just 30 minutes a day from three hours the previous week.

The family in Saba Abkar also had 30 minutes - but that is 10 minutes more a day than any of the preceding three weeks.

People of al-Hurriya district in Baghdad went on a demonstration after Friday prayers at the Kadhimiya shrine in protest over the lack of power for two weeks now. Power failures also continue for those in Adhamiya.

The black-market cost of fuel has started to drop, falling from 27,000 Iraqi dinars (US $22) for 20 litres, to around 15,000 to 20,000 Iraqi dinars. This is still more than twice the forecourt price.

Day-long queues were again reported at some petrol stations. But some people said they have only had to queue for four hours since the Iraqi government agreed new draft oil laws.

Gas cylinders are fetching 30,000 Iraqi dinars ($24.50) on the black market in Baghdad compared with a forecourt price of 7,500 - up 3,500 on last week.

In Falluja, gas cylinders fetched 40,000 Iraqi dinars on the black market as cars were not allowed into the town.

People in the Adhamiya district of Baghdad reported continued food shortages after food lorries were only allowed into the area after being checked by the Iraqi army. Some lorry owners say they have had to pay bribes to get in. Some shop owners have resorted to transporting vegetables in private cars.

The al-Husseiniya district in Baghdad is besieged by US forces and people in the area say restrictions on movement mean it is difficult to get food and fuel. Electricity in the district has been cut over the past couple of days and there is a water shortage.

BAGHDAD HOSPITALS

Hospitals

Baghdad's al-Yarmouk and al-Kindi hospitals were among those that dealt with the aftermath of two bomb attacks that killed at least 50 people and injured dozens more as crowds celebrated the Iraqi national football team's win over South Korea.

Around 45 people were also taken to al-Yarmouk Hospital with injuries after clashes in the mainly Shia Bayaa and Amil districts between the Shia Mehdi army militia and local Sunnis.

Al-Yarmouk also received 30 unidentified bodies.

The hospital, itself in a district plagued by violence, has started to suffer a shortage of doctors. Some are reported to have moved to Kurdistan after receiving threats, while others have quit their jobs in fear of killings and kidnappings.

The medical city morgue received 50 unidentified bodies from different neighbourhoods in Baghdad.

Data compiled by BBC producer Mona Mahmoud


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