Last week, a new analysis civilian casualties in Iraq was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study involved researchers from King’s College London and Royal Holloway, University of London in the UK who studied numbers provided by Iraq Body Count.
The study reviewed the deaths of 60,481 civilians in 14,196 events to determine which weapons were the most devastating to the Iraqi population.
The study reports that execution after abduction or capture was the most common cause of death in Iraq. Execution victims were 95% male and nearly a third showed evidence of being tortured.
Air attacks also claimed significant numbers of Iraqi lives and were particularly devastating for women and children. 49% of victims were women and 39% children. In air attacks, an average of 17 people were killed per attack.
Victims of mortar attacks–used by the Iraqi government, U.S. forces, and insurgent groups–were 42% children and 44% women.
The authors write that because of the large number of women and children killed by aerial and mortar attacks, the use these weapons should be more strictly regulated by international law and that they should not be directed at civilian areas.