Sunday, September 12, 2004
From the AP wire, Friday afternoon:
Iraq's Health Ministry has ordered a halt to a count of civilians killed during the war and told its statistics department not to release figures compiled so far, the official who oversaw the count told The Associated Press on Wednesday.From the Washington Post, Sunday afternoon:
The health minister, Dr. Khodeir Abbas, denied in an email that he had anything to do with the order, saying he didn't even know about the study.
Dr. Nagham Mohsen, the head of the ministry's statistics department, said the order was relayed to her by the ministry's director of planning, Dr. Nazar Shabandar, who said it came on behalf of Abbas. She said the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority, which oversees the ministry, also wanted the counting to stop.
Car bombings, mortar attacks and clashes between insurgents and U.S. and Iraqi security forces killed at least 80 civilians across the country Sunday, Iraqi officials said.
In Baghdad, the scene of some of the most intense fighting in months, at least 27 people were killed and 107 wounded.
A U.S. military helicopter fired into a crowd of civilians who had surrounded a burning Army armored vehicle, killing 13 people, said Saad Amili, spokesman for the Health Ministry. A Palestinian journalist reporting from the scene for the Arab satellite network al-Arabiya was among those killed.
The U.S. military said it was trying to scatter looters who were attempting to make off with ammunition and pieces of the Bradley fighting vehicle, which had been hit by car bomb early this morning on Haifa Street, a troublesome north-south artery west of the Tigris River.
But witnesses, including a Reuters cameraman who was filming the al-Arabiya journalist when he was shot, disputed that account and said the crowd had been peaceful, Reuters reported . . . .
In Ramadi, a city west of Baghdad, 10 people were killed and 40 were wounded, including women and children, when U.S. tanks and helicopters opened fire in a residential district, Abdel Salam Mohamed, a doctor at Ramadi Hospital, told Reuters. The U.S. military had no immediate comment.
Ten people were also killed in Babil and two in Basra, the Iraqi Health Ministry said, without specifying the circumstances. Independent confirmation could not be made.