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Middle East
Report: Iraq civilian deaths down
Iraq Body Count study reveals sharp decline in fatalities over last two years.
Last Modified: 28 Dec 2008 07:16 GMT
About 25 Iraqi civilians die every day at present
compared to 67 in 2007 [AFP]

The number of civilian deaths from violence in Iraq have fallen sharply this year to an estimated 25 per day, down by two thirds from the high two years ago, Iraq Body Count, a voluntary group, says.

In 2007, an average of 67 people died every day while in 2006, the most violent year for Iraqi civilians during the conflict, 76 people lost their lives each day, the British-based non-governmental organisation said.

Iraq Body Count, which lists the number of civilians killed by military forces, armed groups and criminals since the US-led invasion in 2003, said the current level of violence is comparable to the period between May 2003 and December 2004.

So far in 2008, between 8,315 and 9,028 people have been killed, a sharp drop compared to the 25,774 to 27,599 killed in 2006 and 22,671 to 24,295 who died in 2007, according to Body Count figures.
  
However, the total number of civilian deaths since the US-led invasion in 2003 which toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein is approaching 100,000, the group said.

Heavy price

The most dramatic drop in violence this year occurred in the capital Baghdad, Iraq Body Count said.  

Meanwhile, the number of civilians killed by car bombs and suicide attacks declined to 10 a day this year compared to 21 per day in 2007 and 16 a day two years ago.
  
Amongst those killed by bullets or executed, an average of 14 civilians died per day, compared to 40 a day last year and 56 per day in 2006.
  
Police remained one the principal targets for attack this year with 928 dying, but this was still a reduction of more than half from 2007, when 2,065 died.
  
The Awakening groups of Sunni fighters who turned against former ally al-Qaeda in late 2006, have paid a heavy price for their newfound loyalty to the United States military, the report said.
  
It said 549 of them died between October 2007 and November 2008.

Source:
Agencies
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