Nearly 25,000 civilians have been killed since the US-led
invasion of Iraq in 2003, a US-British non-governmental organisation
said, based on survey of media reports.
Controversially, the Iraq Body Count survey blames 37
per cent of the deaths on US-led forces, an assertion vigorously denied
by the US military.
Insurgents caused only 9.5 per cent of the deaths in
the survey, but criminal gangs – often hard to distinguish from
insurgents – accounted for 36 per cent. "Unknown agents" accounted
for 11 per cent. But the insurgent and criminal share of killings appears
to be on the rise.
The survey says almost one third of civilian deaths occurred
during the two-month invasion, but that more civilians died in the
second year after it, reflecting worsening instability.
The low overall share attributed to insurgents "would
not appear to tally with the situation on the ground, where insurgent
violence is rife," Reuters newswires observed.
Iraq Body Count called its survey "a unique insight into
the human consequences of the US-led invasion."