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Iraqi Civilian Deaths Increase In 2011

Residents mourn over coffins containing the victims of a December bomb attack in Al-Fallujah, Iraq.
A U.K.-based nongovernmental organization has issued figures that suggest the number of civilians killed in Iraq in 2011 was slightly higher than a year earlier.

The rights group Iraq Body Count (IBC) said in a report that 4,059 civilians were killed in violent incidents last year, compared to 3,976 in 2010.

The Iraqi government, meanwhile, released figures on January 1 that claimed the number of civilian deaths in 2011 decreased compared to 2010 and 2009.

Figures released by Iraq's Health, Interior and Defense ministries showed 2,645 people were killed, 1,578 of them civilians, in 2011, while 3,605 were killed in 2010.

The IBC also reported from 2003, when U.S. troops entered Iraq, until late last year when those troops left, some 162,000 people were killed in Iraq, about 80 percent of them civilians.

The IBC's report said "recent trends indicate a persistent low-level conflict in Iraq that will continue to kill civilians at a similar rate for years to come."

compiled from agency reports