Iraqis carry a wounded man at the scene of a car bomb attack after it exploded Oct. 15 as worshippers left a Sunni mosque following prayers marking the start of the Eid al-Adha in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk. The U.N. says that 979 Iraqis died in attacks in October. (Marwan Ibrahim / AFP)
BAGHDAD — Attacks and other violence across Iraq killed 979 people in October, the United Nations said Friday, a monthly death toll that is the same as the figure for September.
As the U.N. mission in Baghdad released the somber figure, mission chief Nickolay Mladenov urged Iraqi political leaders to take bold actions to halt the "current mayhem."
The toll followed a dark trend — violence has increased sharply in recent months in Iraq amid sectarian and political tension. As bombings and attacks grow more frequent, so do fears that widespread sectarian conflict may once again engulf the nation.
The bloodshed accelerated sharply after a deadly April 23 crackdown by security forces on a Sunni protest camp in a northern Iraqi town, which set off near-daily attacks, mostly by Sunni extremists and al-Qaida militants determined to undermine the country's Shiite-led government.
"Indiscriminate violence is constant," said Mladenov. "Every day, every week, every month dozens, if not hundreds of innocent Iraqis are killed or deeply wounded. This is senseless."
U.N.'s report said 979 people were killed in October — the same number as in September. Out of those, 852 were civilians while 127 were Iraqi soldiers and members of the police force.
Also, the U.N. said 1,902 Iraqis were wounded in attacks across the country last month — a drop of more than 200 from September, when 2,133 Iraqi were wounded.
Baghdad was the worst affected province, with 411 killed and 925 wounded. It was followed by the volatile Ninevah province, where 188 people were killed and 294 were wounded.
On Thursday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki warned in Washington that terrorists "got a second chance" to thrive in Iraq, largely as the result of the rise of al-Qaida fighters in neighboring Syria's civil war. He said the world needs to help Iraq deal with its deadly insurgency.
In violence Friday, gunmen opened fire on a security checkpoint in the northern city of Mosul, killing one soldier and one civilian passer-by, police officials said.
Also in Mosul, a soldier was killed and three were wounded when a roadside bomb struck their convoy.
A hospital official confirmed the death toll for both attacks. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to media.