BAGHDAD — Iraqi casualties in May fell by more than half compared with the previous month and were at a record low for the years for which statistics are available, according to figures released Sunday.
The statistics suggested that insurgents have not been able to sustain the attacks they mounted in April.
The U.S. military toll, however, was at its highest level since September, with 24 deaths recorded. Sunday, the military reported the accidental deaths of two U.S. soldiers, one in a vehicle accident and one in a noncombat-related injury in Tikrit, in northern Iraq.
The U.S. count included the deaths of five U.S. soldiers who were gunned down at a combat-stress clinic on May 11. One of their comrades, Sgt. John M. Russell, has been charged in the shooting. Otherwise, U.S. casualties were in line with previous months.
According to the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, 165 Iraqis died in violence in May, 134 of them civilians and 31 of them members of the Iraqi security forces. That's down from 355 deaths in April, 290 of them in bombings that mostly targeted civilians. The toll also was lower than the 187 deaths in January, the previous low for the year.
U.S. military officials have cited the fall in violence in May as evidence that insurgents have lost the ability to sustain prolonged bombing campaigns. Violence levels are sharply down from their peak in November 2006 when, according to the United Nations, 3,462 Iraqis died.