More people were killed and wounded in violent attacks across Iraq in April than in any month since June 2008, the United Nations mission in the country said Thursday.
According to figures released by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), a total of 712 people were killed and 1,633 were wounded in acts of terrorism and violence.
The majority of victims were civilians, with 595 people killed and 1,438 injured. A further 117 members of the Iraqi Security Forces were killed and 195 were injured.
Baghdad was the worst affected governorate, with a total of 697 civilian casualties, followed by Diyala, Salahuddin, Kirkuk, Ninewa and Anbar.
Hundreds of people have been killed or wounded in recent clashes across the country, including in Hawija, north of Baghdad, where government helicopters shot at militants hiding in the village, resulting in dozens of people killed or injured.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Iraq, Martin Kobler, has repeatedly called on Iraqi authorities to take decisive measures to stop the escalating violence, and on Tuesday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged all Iraqis to come together and engage in inclusive dialogue to overcome the "deep political crisis" facing the country.
"It is only through dialogue and full participation in the government institutions that bold initiatives can be taken to overcome the critical phase the country is going through," Kobler said.
Earlier Thursday, Kobler welcomed the return of Kurdistan region ministers to the Cabinet and Kurdistan region members of parliament to the Council of Representatives, following a meeting on Monday between Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki, and the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Nichervan Barzani.