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Iraq war inquiry 'ignoring 100,000 civilian deaths'

The official inquiry into the Iraq war has been accused of ignoring the deaths of the estimated 100,000 Iraqi civilians who have been killed since the 2003 invasion.

Iraq Body Count, a research group which has recorded between 97,000 and 106,000 civilian deaths since 2003, said the equivalent of an "Iraq war inquest" was needed because the Chilcot inquiry set up by Gordon Brown had failed to address this central issue.

The group has been pressing Sir John Chilcot, the inquiry chairman, to look into civilian casualties for a year but has now run out of patience. The amount of time devoted to Iraqi casualties has been "derisory" and the inquiry is "flawed", its report today said.

While previous investigations of the conflict have been criticised as too narrow, the group believes the Chilcot inquiry's terms of reference are so broad that it has been "able to obsess minutely over the 'war at home' to the detriment of everything else."

There has been no official attempt by the British Government to put a precise or approximate figure on Iraqi casualties. IBC said: "Throughout the inquiry most of the attention has remained firmly fixed, fixated even, upon the interplay between political and military actors here and in the USA, and the ramifications of the war as felt by them, while the subject that is of greatest concern to the greatest number of people, here as in Iraq, gets only brief mentions."

Although the Chilcot inquiry team may visit Iraq before finalising its report, IBC argued that this would be "little more than an afterthought".

Sir John rejected the criticism, saying the inquiry had studied some of the information produced by the IBC.