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More than 5,500 Iraqis killed so far
rediff International Bureau | May 24, 2004 09:56 IST
ABC News, quoting Associated Press, says more than 5,500 Iraqis have died violently in Baghdad, Karbala, Kirkuk and Tikrit provinces in the year since the United States declared it had won the war in Iraq.
The tally does not include casualties from the whole country, especially Fallujah and Najaf where fighting has been fierce these last six weeks between the US military and the Mahdi army owing allegiance to the young Shia cleric Muqtada as-Sadr.
ABC News said Associated Press had compiled the death toll from a study of morgues in Baghdad, Karbala, Kirkuk and Tikrit.
The figures do not include those killed in the many bombings in places like Baghdad, an Iraqi interior ministry spokesman, quoted by ABC News, said. Those bodies are not taken to the morgue, but handed over to the families since their cause is known. The bodies of Mahdi Army casualties are not taken to the morgue either.
This means the death toll could be many times the number compiled from the morgues.
While Saddam Hussein's security services are believed to have killed over half a million people during the tyrant's 23-year rule, criminal activity was kept to a minimum.
Lawlessness is now common in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities, with guns freqquently used to settle personal and political scores.
'If the United States does not make some major course corrections very quickly, worse will likely follow,' Kennet M Pollack, director of research, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, which is attached to the prestigious US think-tank, the Brookings Institution, told the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month.