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October 10, 2012

The world's 10 deadliest cities

(Continued)

No. 33: Kingston, Jamaica

At No. 33, Kingston has the highest homicide rate in the Caribbean. Gangs have been entrenched in Kingston for decades, particularly in inner-city neighborhoods such as West Kingston and Grants Pen. But the violence has received renewed attention in recent years as a result of the government's more confrontational attitude toward the country's gangs. A manhunt for one notorious gang leader, Christopher Coke, drew worldwide attention in 2010 when it resulted in more than 70 deaths in the Tivoli Gardens area, where Coke had established his stronghold. The government claims that its new approach is working and that a crackdown last year brought down murder rates in some areas of Kingston by 60 percent. Others say the initiative has only resulted in more extrajudicial killings. Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department continues to warn travelers headed for Kingston and other Jamaican cities that "While the vast majority of crimes occur in impoverished areas, random acts of violence, such as gunfire, may occur anywhere." Kingston has a murder rate of 47 per 100,000 residents.

No. 44: Mosul, Iraq

Mosul — the city with the highest homicide rate in the Middle East — is home to volatile sectarian tensions between Kurds and Sunnis fighting for control over the city. One of al Qaida's last urban holdouts, Mosul, which anchors a region home to vast oil reserves, has been the scene of ongoing terrorist attacks and has remained one of Iraq's most restive cities following the U.S. withdrawal in 2011. Militants have continued to carry out attacks against the Shiite-led government, and the Iraqi Army has had a tense relationship with Mosul's residents, who complain of mistreatment at its hands. The fractious relationship has left security forces struggling at times to control the city's restive rebels, who in April 2011 killed five Iraqi soldiers along with three other people in a suicide attack. In the same year, the homicide rate hit 35 killings per every 100,000 residents.

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