From Oct. 11 to Oct. 17, an estimated 208 Iraqis were killed in war-related incidents, significantly higher than the average week; 23 members of the United States military died over the same period.
The deaths of Iraqis, particularly those of civilians, has become an increasingly delicate topic. Early this month, the Health Ministry, which had routinely provided casualty figures to journalists, stopped releasing them. Under a new policy that the government said would streamline the release of the figures - which were clearly an embarrassment to the government as well as to the Americans - only the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers is now allowed to do so.
"It's a political issue," a senior Health Ministry official said last week.