Iraq

Defence written question – answered on 27th January 2005.

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Photo of David Taylor David Taylor Labour/Co-operative, North West Leicestershire

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish the estimates of Iraqi casualties contained in contact reports compiled by UK armed forces serving in Iraq since 20 March 2003.

Photo of Lynne Jones Lynne Jones Labour, Birmingham, Selly Oak

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will release civilian casualty estimates contained in British military contact reports from Iraq.

Photo of Peter Kilfoyle Peter Kilfoyle Labour, Liverpool, Walton

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish Iraq casualty estimates contained in British military contact reports filed since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Photo of Adam Ingram Adam Ingram Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence

Between 1 May 2003 and 26 November 2004, Significant Incident reports and Significant Action reports indicate that United Kingdom forces in Iraq encountered a number of Iraqi casualties. The figures drawn from those reports are not an accurate estimate of Iraqi casualties, either those caused by UK forces or those caused by insurgent activities, and should not be taken as such. They apply only to casualties which were witnessed or discovered by UK forces, and give no indication of casualties outside the UK's areas of operations in South East Iraq, although they also cover the Black Watch deployment to the North Babil area in November 2004. UK forces are not always present at all incidents which result in Iraqi civilian casualties, and following hostile contacts they are not always able to make an accurate count of Iraqi casualties, either because they have withdrawn from the area, or because such casualties have been removed.

These reports indicate that 200 Iraqis believed to have been enemy combatants have died, and 80 have been injured, in incidents where military force was deliberately applied by UK forces. Five Iraqis believed not to have been enemy combatants have died, and a further 13 have been injured, in incidents during the course of which military force was deliberately applied by UK forces. These figures do not necessarily indicate that UK forces caused the casualties, but merely that they recorded them during the course of incidents in which deliberate military force was applied.

Reports indicate that 17 Iraqis believed to have been enemy combatants have died, and 22 have been injured, during the course of other incidents, 144 Iraqis believed not to have been enemy combatants have died, and 192 have been injured, during the course of other incidents. This includes the full range of incidents in which UK forces have been involved, or to which UK forces have been called, but where no deliberate military force was applied. This includes improvised explosive device attacks by insurgent forces on civilian targets, road traffic accidents and in one case the discovery in May 2003 of a mass grave, thought to date back to 1991, containing 32 dead. Iraqi Security Force casualties are not included.

These figures do not include the warfighting phase of Operation TELIC, prior to 1 May 2003, for which incident reports were not routinely submitted whenever casualties were discovered.

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