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More than 7,000 Iraqis killed in violence in '05, official says

BAGHDAD -- More than 7,000 Iraqis, most of them civilians, were killed in violence in 2005, the first year that Iraqi officials have kept such records, an Interior Ministry official said yesterday.

The year 2005 saw 2,880 terrorist attacks target Iraqi security forces and civilians, Major Abdul Aziz al-Mousawi said. About 1,225 policemen and 475 soldiers were killed, along with 4,021 civilians and 1,709 insurgents, he said. Overall, 7,430 Iraqis were killed, according to the figures.

It was impossible to confirm the accuracy of the numbers because many slayings in Iraq go unreported and there are no other official figures with which to compare them. The US military does not track civilian deaths.

According to an Associated Press count, at least 4,942 Iraqis were killed in war-related violence from April 28, 2005, when the new government took office, through December 31. The number includes civilians, government officials, and police and security forces, and is considered only a minimum based on AP reporting. In addition, nearly 1,000 Shi'ite pilgrims were killed on Aug. 21 by a bridge stampede caused by someone shouting there was a suicide bomber in their midst.

Mousawi oversees the Interior Ministry database that included the figures. The numbers are slightly less than those published by the group Iraq Coalition Casualties, which compiles media reports.

In mid-December, President Bush estimated that 30,000 Iraqis had been killed since the start of the war in March 2003. The White House later said he was referring to previously reported estimates.

As of Tuesday, at least 2,183 members of the US military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war, according to an AP count. That includes at least 1,712 killed in hostile action. In 2005, 845 American servicemen were killed, according to an AP tally.

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