| GEO World|
Some 77,000 Iraqis killed over five years: US military
| Updated at: 0324 PST, Saturday, October 16, 2010|
WASHINGTON: The US military has released a tally finding nearly 77,000 Iraqis were killed from January 2004 to August 2008, a period that covers the bloodiest chapter of the seven-year war.
In what is considered to be the military's most finely detailed release of data on Iraq war deaths, the figures were discreetly posted on US Central Command's website in late July.
They were only reported by major news media outlets this week though.
According to the count, 63,185 Iraqi civilians and 13,754 Iraqi security forces were killed during the period, which includes the height of sectarian violence that ravaged the country in 2006-2007.
At least 121,649 Iraqi civilians and security forces were also wounded, it said, while 3,592 coalition troops were killed and 30,068 wounded.
A Defense Department spokesman said it was unclear whether insurgent deaths were included in the data, but noted the killings were not only caused by coalition forces, but also by Al-Qaeda and other militants.
Estimates vary greatly on the number of Iraqis killed since the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, and the toll was lower than one provided by the Iraqi Human Rights Ministry.
In an October 2009 report, the ministry said 85,694 people died as a result of violence, while 147,195 people were wounded.
The independent public database Iraq Body Count puts the number of civilian deaths since 2003 at between 98,252 to 107,235.
While a controversial 2006 study by the British medical journal The Lancet claimed nearly 655,000 Iraqis had died in the war, far exceeding other estimates at the time.
The US military data was released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from George Washington University's National Security Archive.
It chronicled the steady progress of sectarian violence in the country, from about 239 civilian deaths a month in 2004 before reaching over 2,100 a month in 2006, when alleged Al-Qaeda militants destroyed the golden dome of the Al-Askari mosque, unleashing a wave of sectarian violence.