Friday, September 22, 2006
Nearly 7 ,000 civilians were killed in Iraq in the past two months, according to a United Nations report just released -- a record high that is far greater than initial estimates had suggested. As United States generals in Baghdad warned that the violence could worsen in the run-up to Ramadan next Monday, the UN spoke of a "grave sectarian crisis" gripping the country.With known Iraqi deaths running at more than 100 a day because of sectarian murders, al-Qaeda and nationalist insurgent attacks, and fatalities inflicted by the multinational forces, the UN said its total was likely to be "on the low side" because of the difficulties of collecting accurate figures.
In particular, it said that no deaths were reported from the violent region covering Ramadi and Fallujah.The report from the UN assistance mission in Iraq's (UNAMI) human rights office reported evidence of torture, unlawful detentions, the growth of sectarian militias and death squads, and a rise in "honour killings" of women. The increasing incidence of discovery of the bodies of women and teenage girls, shot in the chest rather than in the head, has been attributed to the establishment by both extremist Sunnis and Shias of secretive sharia committees, which locals say carry out killings.