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The Second Gulf War/Iraq Invasion II - The Killing of Civilians & Prisoners


Individual Civilian Killings

Media Reports

Reports on Civilian Killings

Photo Credits


Newest media report: Mortar Bomb Kills 27, Wounds 56 in Iraq’s Karbala (5/2/2010/AFP & Press Association)

Newest government/NGO report: Iraqi Civilian, Police, and Security Forces Casualty Statistics (17/9/2009/CRS)


Background - The Killing of Civilians in Iraq


“The allegations sound like reports of war crimes committed by someone else's soldiers: men in black ski masks enter a house, where three of them take turns raping a 14-year-old girl. They then kill her, her parents, and her 5-year-old sister. It is the kind of atrocity Americans associate with the Nazis, Serbian paramilitary commandos in Kosovo, perhaps Russian troops in Chechnya - not U.S. soldiers. ‘One doesn’t expect the American troops to behave the same way, because there are notions that higher morals prevail in the U.S. armed forces,’ said Robert Rotberg, an expert on conflict and conflict resolution at Harvard University.


“But as a military tribunal in Baghdad is deciding whether five American soldiers must stand trial in connection with the rape and murder of an Iraqi girl and the killing of her parents and sister in March, military experts and historians warn that it will become increasingly difficult for American troops fighting against an elusive enemy in Iraq to maintain military discipline under the intense pressures of war. Wartime atrocities, they say, occur in most wars and are committed by most, if not all, occupying troops - even by such a high-tech, well-trained military as the United States’. […]


“Recent allegations of atrocities by American troops - which include the investigations into whether U.S. servicemen shot in cold blood 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Haditha in November, shot an unarmed Iraqi man in February, executed a civilian in April and three prisoners in May - ‘aren’t surprising at all,’ said Andrew Wiest, professor of military history at the University of Southern Mississippi. ‘The fact that we maybe weren’t expecting them is surprising.’ […]”


[Excerpt of a San Francisco Chronicle article from August 13th, 2006]


Reports Archive


The Media Reports Archive

The Government & NGO Reports Archive


Diverse Archives


The Falluja Killing Chronicles

The U.S. Foreign Claims Act in Iraq


Archives of Individual Killings of Iraqi Civilians & Prisoners


Year 2009

Year 2008

Year 2007

Year 2006

Year 2005

Year 2004

Year 2003



Recent Media Reports


February 5th, 2010 - Mortar Bomb Kills 27, Wounds 56 in Iraq’s Karbala

2 news articles from Agence France Presse & Press Association


February 3rd, 2010 - Iraq Bombing Kills at least 20 as Pilgrims Converge on Karbala

1 news article from the Washington Post


January 26th, 2010 - 21 Killed in Bombing at Baghdad Government Building

2 news articles from the Los Angeles Times & Christian Science Monitor


January 14th, 2010 - Bombs Kill Up to 15 in Shiite Holy City in Iraq

1 news article from Agence France Presse


The Media Reports Archive



Selected Killings & Massacres of Iraqi Civilians & Prisoners


July 21st, 2009

The Abu Ghraib Shooting

April 26th, 2009

The Al-Kut Killings

September 19th, 2008

The Adwar (II) Killings

June 25th, 2008

The Baghdad Airport Road Killings

May 21st, 2008

The Baiji Killings

May 16th, 2008

The Killing of Ali Monsour Mohammed

March 26th - 29th, 2008

The Baghdad/Basra Airstrikes

February 2nd/4th, 2008

The Iskandariya/Adwar Killings

October 11th, 2007

The Thar Thar Killings (II)

October 9th, 2007

The Killing of Genevia Antranick & Marani Manook

September 16th, 2007

The Blackwater Killings

September 6th, 2007

The Al-Washash Killings

June 24th, 2007

The Muqdadiya Killings

June 23rd, 2007

The Al-Saheed/Kirkuk Killings

June 17th, 2007

The Thar Thar Killings (I)

April/June 2007

The Iskandariya Killings

April/May 2007

The Baghdad Prisoner Killings

April 7th, 2007

The Lynching of Du'a Khalil Aswad

March/August 2007

The Fort Carson 2nd/4th Brigade Combat Team Killings

February 2007

The Ramadi & Baghdad Killings

December 8th, 2006

The Jalameda Massacre

November 28th/29th, 2006

The Hamaniya/Hashimiya Killings

May 9th, 2006

The Thar Thar Canal Killings

April 26th, 2006

The Slaying of Hashim Al-Zobaie

March 15th, 2006

The Abu Sifa Massacre

March 12th, 2006

The Mahmudiya Massacre

February 15th, 2006

The Killing of Gani Zaben

November 19th, 2005

The Haditha Massacre

June 25th, 2005

The Killing of Mohammed Al-Sumaidaie

January 31st, 2005

The Camp Bucca Killings

November 9th, 2004

The Falluja Killings

October 25th, 2004

The Killing of Thaher Khalifa Ahmed

September 22nd, 2004

The Killing of Badea’a Hasan Ali

August 2004

The Sadr City Murders

August 18th, 2004

The Murder of Qassim Hassan in Al-Thawra

February 28th, 2004

The Killing of Muhammad Hussain Kadir

January 3rd, 2004

The Killing of Naser Ismail

January 3rd, 2004

The Drowning of Zaidoun Hassoun

November 26th, 2003

The Torture Killing of Abed Hamed Mowhoush



Five Individuals Killings of Iraqi Civilians & Detainees by U.S. Troops



Graphic by New York Times/Date: June 17th, 2006



Recent Reports on Civilian Killings & Living Conditions of the General Population


September 17th, 2009 - Iraqi Civilian, Police, and Security Forces Casualty Statistics

Report by the Congressional Research Service


“[…] This report presents various governmental and nongovernmental estimates of Iraqi civilian, police, and security forces fatalities. The Iraq government is releasing increasingly regular data on these deaths. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) releases the monthly pattern of Iraqi civilian, police, and security forces deaths, and it regularly updates total U.S. military deaths and wounded statistics from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), as reflected in CRS Report RS 21578, Iraq: U.S. Casualties, by Susan G. Chesser. Because the estimates contained in this report are based on varying time periods and have been created using differing methodologies, readers should exercise caution when using them and should look to them as guideposts rather than as statements of fact. […]”


April 29th, 2009 - Human Rights Report: 1 July - 31 December 2008

Report by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI)


“[…] 1. The second half of 2008 was characterised by further improvements in the security situation, already noted during the first months of the year, with additional decrease in the number of high-visibility mass-casualty attacks by militias, insurgents and criminal groups. The large scale military offensives in Basra and Sadr City in March and April were followed by smaller targeted operations in Missan, Diyala and Ninawa in July, August and November respectively. In October 2008, the numbers of Iraqi civilians and soldiers from the Multi-National Force - Iraq (MNF-I) killed reached their lowest levels since 2003. For the first time since 2007, the Ministry of Health published the number of civilian casualties in Iraq. According to the Ministry, a total of 6,787 civilians were killed and 20,178 injured in 2008, which illustrates a significant reduction in the number of violent deaths compared to the 34,542 civilians killed and 36,685 injured in 2006.


“2. Nonetheless, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) remains concerned about the overall human rights situation in Iraq since indiscriminate attacks remained a frequent occurrence; the targeted killings of security forces, high ranking officials and civil servants, religious and political leaders, professional groups such as journalists, educators, medical doctors, judges and lawyers and other civilians continued at a high rate, as did criminal abductions for ransom. The reporting period was also characterised by the attacks against minority leaders and the large displacement of over 12,000 Christians from Mosul in October. Violence against women in the Region of Kurdistan and the rest of Iraq remained one of the issues of serious concern as the pattern of the recorded incidents of suicide often points towards ‘honour’-related homicides.


“3. The improvement in the security situation was not accompanied by a full re-establishment of the rule of law and by systematically addressing impunity. In most cases, the perpetrators of human rights abuses were not brought to justice. UNAMI has continuously stated that security may not be sustainable unless significant steps are taken in the area of human rights such as strengthening the rule of law and addressing impunity. This is an opportunity for Iraq, as it exerts its sovereignty, to advance all aspects of the rule of law including legal reform, strengthening the judiciary, improving the conditions of detention and enabling access to justice by detainees. UNAMI and the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) stand ready to assist.


“4. With regards to the situation in prisons and detention centres, at the end of the reporting period a total of 41,271 individuals remained detained under the custody of different authorities such as the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and MNF-I. The number of detainees under Iraqi control in December 2008 was 26,249 and those under the control of MNF-I was 15,058. UNAMI continued to raise concerns about the conditions of detainees, many of whom have been deprived of their liberty for months or even years in overcrowded cells, and about violations of the minimum rules of due process as many did not have access to defence counsel, or were not formally charged with a crime or appeared before a judge. The new Iraq-United States Bilateral Agreement envisaging the release or transfer of MNF-I-held detainees to the Iraqi custody takes effect on January 2009. UNAMI calls upon both parties to implement the agreement in strict respect of human rights norms and standards. UNAMI/HRO received credible reports of allegations of torture and ill-treatment in pre-trial detention in Iraqi detention facilities. UNAMI/HRO also received reports of ill-treatment in detention facilities in the Region of Kurdistan and has requested both, the Iraqi Authorities and the Kurdish Regional Authorities (KRG) to urgently investigate all such cases. […]”


April 16th, 2009 - The Weapons That Kill Civilians

Report by the New England Journal of Medicine


“[…] Armed violence, such as that in the ongoing conflict in Iraq, is a threat to global health. It causes serious injuries and deaths of civilians, makes orphans of children, traumatizes populations, and undermines the ability of communities to provide adequate medical care even as it dramatically increases health care needs. Moreover, indiscriminate or intentional harm to civilians violates humanitarian principles and basic human rights. Believing that a careful assessment of the effects of different kinds of weapons on civilians in Iraq was needed, we used the database of the Iraq Body Count (IBC), a nongovernmental organization that documents civilian violent deaths in Iraq, to determine the nature and effects of various weapons on civilians in Iraq. The patterns we found convince us that documenting the particular causes of violent civilian deaths during armed conflict is essential, both to prevent civilian harm and to monitor compliance with international humanitarian law. […]


“[…] The greatest proportion of victims - 19,706 of 60,481, or 33% - were killed by execution after abduction or capture. Of the bodies of those who were executed, 5760, or 29%, showed marks of torture, such as bruises, drill holes, or burns. (A typical media report about this particularly appalling form of violent death reads: "The bullet-riddled bodies bore signs of torture and their hands were tied behind their backs.") Iraqi civilians also suffered heavy tolls from small-arms gunfire in open shootings and firefights (20% of deaths), apart from executions involving gunfire, and from suicide bombs (14% of deaths).


“In events with at least one Iraqi civilian victim, the methods that killed the most civilians per event were aerial bombings (17 per event), combined use of aerial and ground weapons (17 per event), and suicide bombers on foot (16 per event). Aerial bombs killed, on average, 9 more civilians per event than aerial missiles (17 vs. 8 per event). Indeed, if an aerial bomb killed civilians at all, it tended to kill many. It seems clear from these findings that to protect civilians from indiscriminate harm, as required by international humanitarian law (including the Geneva Conventions), military and civilian policies should prohibit aerial bombing in civilian areas unless it can be demonstrated - by monitoring of civilian casualties, for example - that civilians are being protected. […]”


December 28th, 2008 - Post-Surge Violence: Its Extent and Nature

Report by Iraq Body Count


“[…] This analysis looks at trends. But when examining the violence afflicting civilians in Iraq’s continuing conflict, a distinction must be drawn between abstractions represented by varying “rates” of violence and the reality of that violence for those experiencing it. Every statistic on this page can be traced to a human life violently ended, and no one is any less a victim for having been killed during a “downward trend” in violence.


“With only a few days of 2008 remaining, the year so far has seen another 8,315–9,028 civilian deaths added to the IBC database. This compares to 25,774–27,599 deaths reported in 2006, and 22,671–24,295 in 2007. This is a substantial drop on the preceding two years: on a per-day rate, it represents a reduction from 76 per day (2006) and 67 per day (2007) to 25 per day in 2008.


“The most notable reduction in violence has been in Baghdad. For the first time since the US-led occupation of Iraq began, fewer deaths have been reported in the capital than in the rest of the country (from 54% of all deaths in 2006-2007 to 32% in 2008). Most of these reductions have been attributed to declining inter-communal violence.


“Yet these improvements, as important and welcome as they are, can only be seen as a success when compared to the much worse conditions that prevailed in 2006-2007. Even within this timeframe, areas outside Baghdad have seen far less dramatic reductions in violence, and dozens of civilians are still being killed in conflict-related violence throughout Iraq on a relentless, daily basis. At 25 per day, the 2008 rate for violent civilian deaths is equivalent to that existing throughout the first 20 months of post-invasion Iraq, from May 2003 to December 2004 (15,355 deaths over 610 days). […]”


The Government & NGO Reports Archive


War Scenes from Iraq

Victim of U.S. airstrike

4 children - killed by U.S. forces

2 babys - killed by U.S. forces

Photo & Graphic Credits



1) 9-year-old Ibtihal Jassem is rescued by her uncle Jaber Jouda, in Basra, Iraq, after the bombing of the Mshan neighbourhood by coalition warplanes. Born deaf and mute, Jassem not only lost her right leg in the U.S. bombing of Basra two days after the war in Iraq began, but also all seven members of her family. After she was rescued by Jaber Jouda, who found her with her right leg almost severed, Jassem has lived with her grandparents - March 22nd, 2003 - AP Photo/Nabil El Jourana;



2) “US Military Cases in Iraq” - Graphic - June 17th, 2006 - New York Times;


War Scenes from Iraq

1) An injured young girl lies in a hospital in Fallujah, Iraq after U.S. warplanes launched a wave of airstrikes Friday on Fallujah killing two civilians and wounding 11 others, hospital officials said - August 28th, 2004 - Abdul Kadir Sadi/Associated Press;

2) A relative looks at four children who died when the car they were travelling in allegedly came under fire from U.S. forces, whereby the driver lost control and the car fell into a stream near Fallujah, Iraq. Eye witness, Hussein Alwan, said that the U.S. military personnel stopped locals from assisting the drowning people, leading to the death of the four children along with two other women travelling in the car. The wounded driver was later rescued. The U.S. military media liason personnel said in Baghdad that they were unaware of any such incident. - September 30th, 2004 - Bilal Hussein/Associated Press;

3) The dead bodies of two children lie inside the morgue of Baqouba hospital, Iraq. U.S. forces mistakenly fired on a civilian vehicle outside of an American military base north of Baghdad on Monday, killing at least three people, including one child, a U.S. spokesman said. Five people returning from a relative's funeral, including three children, were killed and two others wounded, said Dr. Ahmed Fouad of the Baqouba city morgue. U.S. officials said they only knew of three deaths in the incident, including one child, and three others wounded. - November 21st, 2005 - Mohammed Adnan/Associated Press;

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