Violence has claimed the lives of 799 Iraqis in May, the highest monthly death toll so far this year, the United Nations said on Sunday, underlining the daunting challenges the government faces as it struggles to contain a surge in sectarian violence.

The figures issued by the U.N. mission to Iraq, known as UNAMI, put last month’s civilian death toll at 603, with 196 security forces killed. UNAMI added that 1,409 Iraqis, including 1,108 civilians, were wounded. The previous month’s death toll stood at 750, making April the second deadliest month of the year.

The worst-hit city was the capital Baghdad, with 315 people killed. The northern province of Ninevah came in second with 113, followed by nearby Salahuddin province with 94. […]