BAGHDAD - A total of 4,471 civilians died in Iraq's festering "low-level war" with insurgents in 2012, the first annual climb in the death toll in three years, campaigners said on Tuesday.

The deaths, up from 4,059 in 2011, showed militant fighters were still bent on carrying out large-scale bomb attacks, said rights group Iraq Body Count (IBC) in its annual report.

Tensions between Shi'ite, Kurdish and Sunni factions in Iraq's power-sharing government have been on the rise this year and the civil war in neighbouring Syria is whipping up sectarian tension across the region.

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