Official figures didn't show 60% of dead Iraqi civilians were killed by coalition forces, says BBC

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Saturday, January 29, 2005

Map of Iraq, from CIA World Factbook

The BBC reported on January 27 that statistics released by the Iraqi Ministry of Health showed that Coalition forces killed 60% of the civilians that died in the period July 2004 to January 2005.

The figures, normally available only to the Iraqi cabinet, show a total of 3,274 Iraqi civilians were killed and 12,657 wounded during the continuing conflict. These figures exclude the deaths of known insurgents.

However according to the Iraqi Ministry of Health, the BBC misunderstood the matter. According to the previous story from BBC these figures were a result of Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces military operations.

However, the Iraqi Ministry of Health explained that the published figures also include Iraqis killed by terrorists, not only those killed by Coalition forces or Iraqi security forces; and that those recorded as killed in military action included terrorists themselves, and Iraqi security forces.

The BBC recognized their error and apologized in a recent news item[1], and retracted the conclusions drawn by their original report:

"The BBC regrets mistakes in its published and broadcast reports yesterday," reported the BBC."

The figures, based on records from Iraqi public hospitals released by the Iraqi Ministry of Health, are shown in the following table:

Conflict-related civilian deaths in Iraq. July 2004 to January 2005
3,274 Total civilians killed
2,041 by coalition and Iraqi security forces
1,233 by insurgents
12,657 Total civilians wounded
8,542 by coalition and Iraqi security forces
4,115 by insurgents

Shortly before the release of the figures by the BBC, US Ambassador John Negroponte had told BBC reporter John Simpson:

"My impression is that the largest amount of civilian casualties definitely is a result of these indiscriminate car bombings."