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Iraq Transition

Pentagon estimates Iraq civil toll

Civilians bear brunt of insurgent attacks

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Relatives grieve for victims of a weekend truck bombing in Iraq.

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(CNN) -- A recent U.S. military report estimates that nearly 26,000 Iraqis were killed or wounded by insurgent attacks from January 1, 2004, through September 16, 2005.

"Approximately 80 percent of all attacks are directed against coalition forces, but 80 percent of all casualties are suffered by Iraqis," the Pentagon report said.

The figure was extrapolated from a bar graph on page 23 of the report, which shows average daily casualties since January 2004. The chart is not exact, but the figure can be considered a rough estimate.

The number did not include civilians who may have been killed or wounded in coalition attacks, nor did it include insurgents.

The 44-page report, "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq," was submitted to the U.S. Congress on October 13, two days before Iraq's constitutional referendum.

The report said 85 percent of insurgent attacks occurred in four provinces -- Anbar, Baghdad, Nineveh and Salaheddin -- where 42 percent of the population lives.

"Insurgents have learned to avoid head-to-head engagements with coalition forces, using stand-off or hit-and-run attacks instead," the report said. "Improvised explosive devices are the primary insurgent method of attack."

The U.S. military has never acknowledged tracking civilian casualties in Iraq.

The Web site IraqBodyCount.net, which is operated by a group of volunteers that tracks media reports of civilian fatalities, estimates that between 26,732 and 30,098 Iraqi civilians have been killed since January 1, 2003.

Several more deaths over the weekend brought to 2,015 the number of U.S. troops who have died in the Iraq war, including 82 this month.

The U.S. military death toll surpassed 2,000 last week, and President Bush said Saturday in his weekly radio address that "the best way to honor the sacrifice of our fallen troops is to complete the mission." (Full story)

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