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Iraq: 3 die as 'worst month' figures revealed

July violence the deadliest since March 2003

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A bomb ripped through a market in Baghdad's Sadr City on Thursday, another day of carnage in a city under siege by insurgents and people bent on sectarian revenge.

Three people were killed and 27 more were wounded when the explosive detonated in Rashaad market, located in the volatile, densely populated eastern Baghdad Shiite slum of Sadr City, a base of support for anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

The strike, one of several across the country, was reported as the Iraqi Health Ministry released new figures that underscore the spike in warfare plaguing Iraq: July was the deadliest month for civilians since the war started in March 2003, figures show.

During the month, 3,438 Iraqis were killed -- 1,855 because of sectarian or political violence and another 1,583 from bombings and shootings. Nearly 3,600 Iraqis were wounded, the official said.

The release of these figures comes on the heels of a U.N. report that said nearly 6,000 people were killed in Iraq in May and June.

The violence this year has been particularly turbulent because of the Feb. 22 bombing of the Askariya Mosque, a Shiite shrine in Samarra. That attack led to an upsurge in Sunni-Shiite retribution slayings.

These Shiite-Sunni sectarian incidents, as well as the insurgent strikes, have made Baghdad a city under siege, despite a security crackdown in capital by the country's national unity government. And, the violence has upset other parts of the country as well.

In fact, instability has worsened to the point where U.S. military officials have acknowledged the possibility of a full-blown civil war in Iraq one day if the violence isn't stopped.

The U.S. military released news of one stride in the capital's security plan -- dubbed Together Forward. The military announced on Thursday that Iraqi forces on Wednesday captured conducted "a known terrorist cell leader."

A precision raid in the Rashid district led to the capture of a former Baath Party member who leads a terror cell in the Dora section of southern Baghdad, the military said.

Violence injured many in the north.

In Muqdadiya in Diyala province, 18 people were wounded, including three police, when mortar rounds hit a market in the city about 60 miles northeast of Baghdad, police said.

Nine people were wounded in northern Iraq when a car bomb exploded near a Kurdish security forces convoy in the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar, police said.

In the west, in Anbar province, a U.S. soldier died on Wednesday in fighting, the U.S. military said Thursday.

Meanwhile, Iraqi police said they were looking for an abducted newspaper editor affiliated with the Iraqi National Turkmen Party, Seif Abd al-Jabbar al-Tamimi.

He was seized earlier this week in Baghdad's Adil neighborhood, according to Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, an Iraqi press freedom organization run by local journalists.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, the watchdog group for journalists, cited the group's account, saying the kidnappers drove west of Baghdad in an Opel with al-Tamimi.

"It remains unclear why al-Tamimi was kidnapped and no group has claimed responsibility for the abduction," CPJ said.

Turkmen people live in Baghdad but are populated mostly in northern Iraq. They have strong enclaves in such cities as Kirkuk and Tal Afar.

CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report

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