Iraq Body Count: 2010 least deadly year since US invasion
A website monitoring deaths in Iraq said on Thursday that 2010 was the least deadly year in the country since the United States-led invasion in 2003, but also warned that violence rates may remain steady, DPA reported.
Iraq Body Count estimated that nearly 4,000 civilians died in Iraq in 2010 - a decline of about 15 per cent from last year.
The website noted, however, that the reduction is the smallest since violence levels began to fall in 2007, with previous declines of 63 per cent and 50 per cent.
"While any reduction in the violence rate is welcome, the slowdown in reductions is indicative of an impassable minimum that may have been reached," the website said.
"The 2010 data suggest a persistent low-level conflict in Iraq that will continue to kill civilians at a similar rate for years to come," it added.
The website also designated the northern city of Mosul as the most violent in the country in proportion to its population, followed by the capital Baghdad.
The data for 2010 additionally showed that violent civilian deaths were halved in the month following a US troop reduction in August.
"Lowered levels have continued into the winter months (with December so far showing the lowest toll of the year). It remains to be seen whether this improvement will persist into 2011," the website said.
Iraq Body Count compiles its data using media reports and official information.
Formerly classified US government documents released by WikiLeaks in October led the website to increase its overall death toll since the invasion by 15,000, bringing the total - including members of US forces - to more than 156,000.
The US currently has less than 50,000 soldiers stationed in Iraq, its lowest troop level since 2003.