Tens of thousands of people have died in Iraq since the US-led invasion of March 2003. Although it is known that 4,300 coalition soldiers have died, 4,000 of them Americans, it is unclear how many Iraqi lives have been lost.
The Iraqi government does not keep precise records of civilians killed and neither do US forces. So estimates of civilian deaths vary greatly. Some figures focus on those who have died as a direct result of the violence, some estimates include deaths blamed on other causes, such as the collapse of Iraq's infrastructure.
In November 2006 Iraqi health ministry estimates ranged from 100,000 to 150,000 dead. This contrasts with a survey of Iraqi households in the Lancet, which suggested about 655,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the war by July 2006.
A survey published by a UK-based polling agency Opinion Research Business in September 2007 suggested up to 1.2m people might have died because of the conflict.
The campaign group, Iraq Body Count, said the civilian death toll by October 2007 was between 74,000 and 81,000, although it has warned many deaths may have gone unreported.
Another survey, published by the New England Journal of Medicine in January 2008, said approximately 151,000 civilians had suffered violent deaths between March 2003 and June 2006. This World Health Organization study was based on 9,000 interviews across Iraq.
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