Middle East

Over 700 have died to reconstruct Iraq: US report

FILE - In a March 9, 2005 file photo a firefighter runs through the blast site after a garbage truck exploded near a hotel used by western contractors in central Baghdad, Iraq. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban/file)

WASHINGTON: At least 719 people participating in reconstruction projects financed by the United States in Iraq were killed during the conflict between 2003 and 2010, a US study revealed Friday.

The report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction said the toll included 318 Americans, 111 third country nations, 271 Iraqis and 19 whose nationalities were not known.

SIGIR conducted the study from May 1, 2003 to August 31, 2010, when the US declared the end of combat operations and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

During that time, the United States spent $60 billion on reconstruction projects and to stabilize the country, according to the report.

No central database exists to track the number of deaths, which SIGIR says may exceed the number given in the report.

Iraqi deaths comprised 38 percent of the toll, roughly matching US military casualties, which comprised 37 percent of the death toll, according to SIGIR.

Most of those killed (71 percent) were involved in projects to develop Iraq's infrastructure and to shore up its civil society, the report found.

About 20 percent of those killed were involved in training Iraqi police, and eight percent in Iraqi army training programs.

Some 4,409 US soldiers were killed in the conflict.

The US military completed its withdrawal from Iraq in December 2011, nine years after the conflict began.

Still, the US embassy in Baghdad is among the largest in the world, with 12,000 employees, largely from private enterprises, in April. The embassy is behind an ongoing program to train Iraqi police.





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