Over 16,000 Civilians Killed In Iraq Last Year, Iraq Body Count Reports

Over 16,000 Civilians Killed In Iraq Last Year, Iraq Body Count Reports

 On average more than 1,300 civilians were killed a month in 2016, the majority by execution, an annual report released on Thursday (January 12) by Iraq Body Count has detailed.

A total of 16,361 civilians were killed in Iraq last year, more than 1,300 a month, London based monitor Iraq Body Count announced in its detailed annual report for 2016 on civilian deaths.

“2016 has seen deadly violence continue to impact Iraqi civilians on a daily basis. This has been most significant this year in the northern city of Mosul and surrounding areas in Ninewa [Nineveh] province under the control of Islamic State (IS) where it has carried out thousands of killings and executions,” the report reads.

“At the same time, the region has been under almost constant bombardment by US-Coalition and Iraqi government forces seeking to oust IS,” the report adds.

Compiling statistics on violent deaths in the country since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the organization records civilian deaths that fall into one of five categories: execution, gunfire (non-execution), air attacks and shelling, IEDs (non-suicide), and suicide bombing.

The report reveals that death by execution was the largest cause of death for men and women with 67% of male civilian deaths recorded being due to execution, and 31% of female deaths.

Air attacks and shelling was the largest cause of death among children, accounting for 41% of child fatalities recorded.

Unsurprisingly the majority of civilian deaths in 2016 were at the hands of the Islamic State (ISIS) group, with 9,287 civilians known to be killed by the jihadists. In 2015, Iraq Body Count recorded a similar number of civilians (9,620) killed by the militant group that year.

U.S.-led coalition forces were responsible for 2,039 deaths, up from the previous year (1,466), and Iraqi government forces and allies responsible for 748 deaths – significantly lower than 2015 (1,852).

Anti-government forces, out with ISIS, were reported as killing 439 civilians in 2016.

A significant number (4,374) of the civilian deaths were recorded without a known perpetrator.  

“It compounds Iraq's tragic situation that detailed demographic (and particularly individualising) information is only available for so few of the victims whose deaths are reported,” the report said.

Regarding the most dangerous areas of Iraq for civilians, Iraq Body Count found that the majority of deaths occurred in Nineveh governorate (7,431), where the ISIS-held city of Mosul is located and where the largest battle in the country since 2003 is currently taking place between Iraqi government forces and the militant group.

Following Nineveh was Baghdad (3,714), Anbar (1,742), Tameem (1,085), and Diyala (839).

“Civilians in Iraq, whether in contested war zones or not, have continued to lose their lives at levels similar to those that have characterized Iraq since mid-2013,” the report adds.