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BAGHDAD - At least 6,599 civilians were killed across war-torn Iraq in the months of July and August, the United Nations said Wednesday.

In July at least 3,590 people were killed and in August 3,009 died in bloody attacks on civilians, according to the UN human rights report.

"The month of July witnessed an increase in the number of security related incidents resulting in an unprecedented number of civilians killed throughout the country," the report said.

"Although the number of killings decreased at the beginning of August, further increases were evident towards the end of the month in Baghdad and other governorates."

The country is in the grip of a bitter conflict between the newly empowered Shiite majority and the ousted Sunni Arab elite that has left thousands dead since February.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Monday warned that Iraq was on the brink of all-out civil war.

09/20/2006 14:53 GMT

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