Thursday, September 07, 2006
no dropoff in Baghdad deaths http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/09/07/africa/ME_GEN_Iraq_Violent_Deaths.php
It turns out the official toll of violent deaths in August was just revised upwards to 1535 from 550, tripling the total.
Violent deaths now appear roughly in line with the earlier trend: 1855 in July and 1595 in June. Officials at the Baghdad morgue have no good explanation for the dramatically revised number. We'll see what the U.S. military has to say.
more detail from IHT.
Baghdad recorded more than 1,500 violent deaths in August, according to final figures released this week by the Health Ministry. The final count was roughly the same as the figure the ministry released for July, before the U.S.-led security crackdown began in the Baghdad area.
The final figure was also nearly three times the preliminary count released by the same ministry last week.
If accurate, the final figures cast doubt on U.S. and Iraqi claims of a significant reduction in the level of violence here since the crackdown was launched Aug. 7.
Nevertheless, U.S. officials were sticking by that claim Thursday.
Asked about the latest Iraqi figures, U.S. spokesman Lt. Col. Barry Johnson referred The Associated Press to a statement on a U.S. military Web site which said the murder rate in Baghdad dropped 52 percent from the daily rate for July.
"The violence Baghdad endured in July receded during the month of August," the Web statement added. "Attacks in Baghdad were well below the monthly average for July."
Iraqi officials could provide no explanation for the difference between the preliminary and final August figures. But it could have resulted in part from a late August surge in deaths.
More than 250 people were killed in Baghdad in the final week of the month.
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