At least 85,694 Iraqis lost their lives from 2004 to 2008 in violence, the Iraqi government said today in its first comprehensive tally released since the war began. Another 147,195 were wounded during that four-year period, says the Human Rights Ministry. The number includes Iraqi civilians, military, and police, but not insurgents, US troops, or other foreign forces or contractors. It also excludes the first months of the war after the 2003 invasion.
For political reasons, the government's toll of Iraqi deaths had been one of the most closely guarded secrets of the war, until an AP report in April revealed that the government had recorded 87,215 deaths. Iraq's death toll continued to climb today when three near simultaneous blasts struck the southern Shiite holy city of Karbala. At least six people were killed, police and medical officials said.