15 Oct 2009

Iraqi government counts toll since 2004

11:24 am on 15 October 2009

The Iraqi government says at least 85,000 people were killed in the country between 2004 - 2008. Twice as many people were wounded.

The BBC reports it is the first time the government in Baghdad has put an official figure on the death toll following the US-led invasion in 2003.

The figure is based on death certificates issued by the ministry of health and included 15,000 unidentified bodies.

It does not include the first months of the war after the invasion, as there was no functioning Iraqi government at that time to keep track.

Among the deaths were 1,279 children, 2,334 women, 263 university professors, 21 judges, 95 lawyers and 269 journalists.

The data covers only violent deaths, such as people killed in shootings, bombings, mortar attacks and beheadings.

It does not include indirect factors such as damage to infrastructure, health care and stress that contributed to more deaths.

About 148,000 people were injured during the same period.

The BBC reports the numbers are relatively conservative and the true number may never be known.

The most recent numbers from Iraq Body Count, a non-governmental organisation that has tracked civilian casualties since the war began, puts the number of fatalities at 93,540.