This is the first detailed account of all non-combatants reported killed or wounded during the first two years of the continuing conflict. The report, published by Iraq Body Count in association with Oxford Research Group, is based on comprehensive analysis of over 10,000 media reports published between March 2003 and March 2005.
Who was killed?
- 24,865 civilians were reported killed in the first two years.
- Women and children accounted for almost 20% of all civilian deaths.
- Baghdad alone recorded almost half of all deaths.
When did they die?
- 30% of civilian deaths occurred during the invasion phase before 1 May 2003.
- Post-invasion, the number of civilians killed was almost twice as high in year two (11,351) as in year one (6,215).
Who did the killing?
- US-led forces killed 37% of civilian victims.
- Anti-occupation forces/insurgents killed 9% of civilian victims.
- Post-invasion criminal violence accounted for 36% of all deaths.
- Killings by anti-occupation forces, crime and unknown agents have shown a steady rise over the entire period.
What was the most lethal weaponry?
- Over half (53%) of all civilian deaths involved explosive devices.
- Air strikes caused most (64%) of the explosives deaths.
- Children were disproportionately affected by all explosive devices but most severely by air strikes and unexploded ordnance (including cluster bomblets).
How many were injured?
- At least 42,500 civilians were reported wounded.
- The invasion phase caused 41% of all reported injuries.
- Explosive weaponry caused a higher ratio of injuries to deaths than small arms.
- The highest wounded-to-death ratio incidents occurred during the invasion phase.
Who provided the information?
- Mortuary officials and medics were the most frequently cited witnesses.
- Three press agencies provided over one third of the reports used.
- Iraqi journalists are increasingly central to the reporting work.
The ever-mounting Iraqi death toll is the forgotten cost of the decision to go to war in March 2003. We sincerely hope that this research will help to inform decision-makers around the world about the real needs of the Iraqi people as they struggle to rebuild their country. It remains a matter of the gravest concern that neither the US nor the UK governments have begun to systematically measure the impact of their actions in terms of human lives destroyed.