Today, the Washington Post reported unofficial violent death tolls from an anonymous and unaurthorized source.
The figures are a bit higher than the official counts released last week by the government, so of course that’s enough to make it the lead story:
The death toll is from one of the Post’s anonymous sources who is not authorized to be reporting figures to the press.
That doesn’t stop the WaPo:
BAGHDAD, Jan. 7 — More than 17,000 Iraqi civilians and police officers died violently in the latter half of 2006, according to Iraqi Health Ministry statistics, a sharp increase that coincided with rising sectarian strife since the February bombing of a landmark Shiite shrine.
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In the first six months of last year, 5,640 Iraqi civilians and police officers were killed, but that number more than tripled to 17,310 in the latter half of the year, according to data provided by a Health Ministry official with direct knowledge of the statistics. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information, said those numbers remained incomplete, suggesting the final tally of violent deaths could be higher.
The official tolls in Iraq for 2006 put the violent death rate below the rate in New Orleans.
But, this new unofficial number puts both quagmires at nearly the same number– 81-85 violent deaths per 100,000 people.
Hopefully, this will improve for each region in 2007, but things are off to a violent start in New Orleans, anyway.