Press spokesman of Iraq Body Count (IBC), John Sloboda, said on Friday that data recently released to the public by the Iraqi Health Ministry had allowed IBC to resolve a problem they have been struggling with for months: "How to reconcile casualty figures reported by local doctors of 800 total dead with a much lower estimate, [280 dead] produced in short order by the Iraqi Health Ministry (IHM)."

Sloboda said, "Details of our analysis are provided on the website, but it now appears incontrovertible that the IHM estimate was quietly withdrawn once media attention moved away from Falluja, leading us to conclude that their estimate was acknowledged to be flawed."

The IBC went on to say that its report, which is based on multiply cited accounts from doctors and eyewitnesses, confirms that no less than 308 of those killed were women and children.

"This number demonstrates the huge impact of US attacks on civilian areas, and allows the conclusion to be drawn that many of the males killed must also have been non-combatants," IBC said in a press statement.

"There are clear reports of 600 people killed in total up until April 12th, most of them killed before US forces began to permit women and children to be evacuated from the town," it added.