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Iraqi death toll much higher than US
Updated: 2005-10-26 08:59

The number of Iraqis who have died violently since the U.S.-led invasion is many times larger than the U.S. military death toll of 2,000 in Iraq.

In one sign of the enormity of the Iraqi loss, at least 3,870 were killed in the past six months alone, according to an Associated Press count.

One U.S. military spokesman said it is possible the figure for the entire war could be 30,000 Iraqis, which many experts see as a credible estimate. Others suspect the number is far higher, since the chaos in Iraq leaves the potential for many killings to go unreported.

The losses are far larger than most analysts and Pentagon planners expected before the war and mean Iraqi civilians are bearing most of the suffering.

"We may never know the true number of the Iraqi public that has been killed or injured in this war," said the U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, Lt. Col. Steve Boylan. "The Iraqi public has taken the brunt of the casualties."

Iraqi men bury a dead relative in this Friday, Oct. 22, 2004 file photo in Fallujah, west of Baghdad, Iraq after a U.S. air strike.
Iraqi men bury a dead relative in this Friday, Oct. 22, 2004 file photo in Fallujah, west of Baghdad, Iraq after a U.S. air strike.[AP/file]
Every day claims more victims: A car bomb targeting American troops that kills Iraqi passers-by. An insurgent attack on a police station. Sectarian militias dumping blindfolded corpses in the Euphrates River.

Civilians made up more than two-thirds of the Iraqis killed in war-related violence since the country's first elected government took power on April 28, according to the AP count. The rest were Iraqi security personnel.

Boylan said the U.S. military keeps its own tally of Iraqi dead, but does not release it. He said he had asked U.S. authorities to see the estimates of Iraqi dead himself, and was refused.

But he suggested an estimate from Iraq Body Count, a British anti-war group that has compiled a death toll based on media reports, appeared credible. The group estimated that from 26,690 to 30,051 Iraqi civilians were killed, or roughly 1,000 per month in the 30 months since the war began.

"I guess it is certainly possible given some of the spectacular events, but hard to say," Boylan said via e-mail.

Some outside experts call that number about right.
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