AP exclusive: Secret tally has 87,000 Iraqis dead

Car bombing in Baghdad
A U.S. soldier treats wounded at the site where a car bomb exploded in Baghdad.
AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images

(AP) - At least 87,215 Iraqis have been killed in violence since 2005, according to a previously undisclosed Iraqi government tally obtained by The Associated Press.

Combined with tallies based on hospital sources and media reports since the beginning of the war and a review of available evidence by the AP, the figures show that more than 110,000 Iraqis have died in violence since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

The Health Ministry death tally, provided by a government official on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the data, counts deaths from the beginning of 2005 until Feb. 28.

It excludes thousands of people who are missing and civilians who were buried in the chaos of war without official notice.

The figure includes only violent deaths - people killed in attacks such as shootings, bombings, mortar attacks and beheadings. It excludes indirect factors such as damage to infrastructure, health care and stress that caused thousands more to die.

Authoritative statistics for 2003 and 2004 do not exist. But Iraq Body Count, a private, British-based group, has tallied civilian deaths from media reports and other sources since the war's start.

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Combining its figures, which are corroborated by the AP's own reporting and that of other reputable sources, with the Health Ministry figures shows that more than 110,000 Iraqis have died in the war.

The AP reviewed the Iraq Body Count analysis and confirmed its conclusions by sifting the data and consulting experts.

The AP also interviewed experts involved with previous studies, prominent Iraq analysts and provincial and medical officials to determine that the new tally was credible.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)