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June 24, 2014

UN: At least 1,075 killed in Iraq in June

GENEVA (AP) — At least 1,075 people, the vast majority of them civilians, have been killed in Iraq during June as a Sunni insurgency overtakes key areas of the country, the United Nations said Tuesday.

According to the U.N. human rights team in Iraq, there were at least 757 civilians killed and 599 injured in Nineveh, Diyala and Salah al-Din provinces from June 5-22, as troops led by Shiite-led government in Baghdad failed to stop the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.

"This figure — which should be viewed very much as a minimum — includes a number of verified summary executions and extra-judicial killings of civilians, police, and soldiers who were hors (de) combat," said U.N. human rights office spokesman Rupert Colville, using the French term for soldiers who have signaled they are no longer combatants.

The Iraq team said another 318 people were killed and 590 injured during the same time in Baghdad and areas in the south, many of them from least six separate vehicle-borne bombs. It also is trying to verify what Colville called "a number of alleged human rights violations that have been taking place in Iraq" since ISIL's advances in early June.

Colville told reporters in Geneva that kidnappings of foreigners and others continue in the northern provinces and in Baghdad, including 48 Turkish citizens taken from Turkey's consulate when ISIL captured Mosul and 40 Indian nationals who had been working for an Iraqi construction company.

But he said 16 Georgians reported kidnapped 10 days ago have been released, and 44 other foreign workers abducted by ISIL when they captured Al-Door also have been freed and returned safely after local tribal leaders negotiated between the Iraqi army and ISIL.

"Tragically some of those who have been abducted have been subsequently found dead, and summary executions also apparently continue to take place," Colville said.

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