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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 April, 2004, 11:36 GMT 12:36 UK
TV roll-call of US dead in Iraq
Coffins of US soldiers at Kuwait International Airport (image released by US Air Force and posted on a website)
Nightline says its broadcast is not related to last week's release of photos
A US TV news programme will dedicate an entire broadcast to a reading of the names of more than 500 American service personnel killed in action in Iraq.

Presenter Ted Koppel will read the names of those who have died since the start of the war last year on Friday's edition of Nightline on ABC News.

The reading will be accompanied by a photograph of each person named.

ABC says the 30-minute programme, entitled The Fallen, is a way of illustrating the human cost of the war.

Nightline executive producer Leroy Sievers said: "We realised that the casualties were on their way to becoming just numbers.

"The Fallen is our way of reminding our viewers - whether they agree with the war or not - that beyond the casualty numbers, these men and women are serving in Iraq in our names, and that those who have been killed have names and faces."

'A tribute'

The planned broadcast follows the controversial publication in the US last week of previously restricted photographs of the flag-draped coffins of dead soldiers being returned to the US.

A Nightline spokeswoman said the broadcast was not related to the publication of the photographs, and there was no political intent behind it.

"It is purely a tribute," she said, adding that Nightline had worked closely with the Army Times Publishing Company - which has a database of names and photographs of troops killed in action - in preparing the programme.

Nightline says that because of time constraints, the reading will be limited to those killed in combat since March 2003 and will not include those who have died as a result of accidents, friendly fire or suicide - who number about 200.

On-screen captions to accompany each the photographs of those named will record which branch of the military they served in, their rank and their age.

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