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The Week in Iraq is a weekly assessment of significant incidents and trends in Iraqi civilian casualties by IBC's news collector and Recent Events editor Lily Hamourtziadou.

The analyses and opinions presented in these commentaries are personal to the author.

Recent weeks

Healing the wounds of the past
  18 Jan 2009

Happy New Year
  11 Jan 2009

The sad numbers
  31 Dec 2008

  21 Dec 2008

The farewell kiss
  14 Dec 2008

Regrets –he’s had a few…
  7 Dec 2008


The Week in Iraq

The Victims

by Lily Hamourtziadou

28 Sep 2008

Over 500 civilians have already been killed this month in Iraq, and every day more victims are added to an extremely long and ever-growing list of civilian casualties. More children are orphaned every day, more mothers suffer the death of a son or daughter, more wives lose a spouse, often the only bread-winner in the family.

Who are these victims? And how do they meet their deaths?

A growing number of them are children, like the 5 youngsters blown up last Monday as they played in a Mosul street. 4 more children were killed on Thursday in Baghdad, by roadside bombs, and another 3 at a Baghdad market on Sunday. Their names were not reported.

A lot of the victims are police officers. Over 50 security men were killed during last week, in bombings and shootings. Some as they guarded a town, others as they searched for weapons, and a few off-duty while walking down a street.

Some of the victims are found buried in mass graves; an estimated 20 bodies were found in 3 mass graves in Diyala on Monday. They were mostly decomposed, and almost certainly fated to remain unidentified and unclaimed, and destined to be reburied in mass graves.

There are those who are killed ‘accidentally’ by American and British soldiers. There were 8 such ‘accidental and regrettable’ killings last week, all committed by American soldiers. 2 of the victims were policemen, while 3, killed on Wednesday, belonged to the same family. Muhammad Khudayir Jasim, Husayn Khudayir Abd and his wife were shot dead during a search in Baghdad, when the US soldiers searching them came under attack. And on Thursday, US forces killed a man waiting for the bus in Mussayab, mistaking him for a terrorist.

Some victims are random, such as the dozens killed on Sunday as they shopped in Baghdad. Others are targeted, as was the University student and gay activist shot dead as he sat at a barbershop on Thursday. And then there was the table tennis coach, shot dead in Mosul on Saturday, by unknown attackers, for reasons unknown…

A total of 169 civilians, killed in 7 days, 12 of them children, 8 killed by the US military. The names of most of them will be known only to their friends and families. Others will remain nameless.

Another 169 victims of violence. Victims of hatred, of intolerance, of terrorism. But also victims of greed and cold-blooded calculation. Sadly, they are also victims of those well-meaning idealists who naively supported this war, thinking it humanitarian, wanting to help free Iraqis and give them a dignified life within a democracy.

Another 169 dead civilians this week. And how many of these violent deaths did the government channel, al Iraqiya, report? None.