U.N.: 34,452 IRAQ CIVILIANS KILLED IN '06
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Nearly 35,000 civilians were killed last year in Iraq, the United Nations said Tuesday, a sharp increase from the numbers reported previously by the Iraqi government.
Gianni Magazzeni, the chief of the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq, said 34,452 civilians were killed and 36,685 were wounded last year.
Iraqi government figures in early January put last year's civilian death toll at 12,357. When asked about the difference, Magazzeni said the U.N. figures were compiled from information obtained through the Iraqi Health Ministry, hospitals across the country and the Medico-Legal Institute in Baghdad.
"Without significant progress in the rule of law sectarian violence will continue indefinitely and eventually spiral out of control," he warned.
The Iraqi Health Ministry could not immediately be reached for comment, but the government has disputed previous figures released by the U.N. as "inaccurate and exaggerated."