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Last Updated: Monday, 23 October 2006, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
Iraq Body Count: War dead figures
The number of civilians reported to have been killed during the Iraq war and subsequent military presence is being recorded by the campaign group Iraq Body Count.

On 15 October 2006 it put the total number of reported civilian dead at 41,744 to 46,668 and the number of police dead at 2,578.

The issue of counting the number of Iraqis killed since the US-led invasion is highly controversial and the figure is disputed.

The US and UK military authorities do not record the number of civilians killed by their forces. The security situation and administrative chaos also make counting extremely difficult.

Iraq Body Count figures by province
Figures shown include the period up to 15 October 2006
Figures are an average of the IBC minimum and maximum deaths Figures for coalition troops from Iraq Coalition Casualty Count

Iraq Body Count uses a survey of online news reports to produce its running tally, including a "minimum" and "maximum" figure where reports differ, or it is unclear whether a person killed was a civilian.

The figures include not only deaths caused by military action, but also those it considers a "direct result" of Iraq's breakdown in law and order.

In a statement on its website, Iraq Body Count says "civilian casualties are the most unacceptable consequence of all wars" and must be recorded and - if possible - investigated.

Because it relies on deaths reported by the media, it suggests its figures are an underestimate as "many if not most civilian casualties will go unreported".

On 12 December, US President George W Bush said about 30,000 Iraqis had been killed since the war began.

His spokesman later said the figure was not an official one and was based on "public estimates cited by media reports" - a method similar to that used by Iraq Body Count.

Nevertheless, Iraq Body Count's methods and its ability to compile accurate statistics have been questioned by critics, with some arguing that it has greatly underestimated the number of casualties.

One study, published by the Lancet medical journal in October 2006, suggested that about 655,000 people had died in Iraq as a result of the 2003 invasion.

The US and UK governments have both said the chaotic situation in Iraq makes it impossible to gather such information accurately.

Iraq ethnic groups

Iraq population density

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