It's a staggering figure. According to Iraq's health minister, 150,000 of his countrymen have died at the hands of insurgents since the start of the war. And for each death, another three people have been wounded.
This is the first casualty figure from the Iraqi government since it came to power in May. It's unclear whether the number covers only civilians, or includes police and soldiers. However, the minister calls it a count of "innocent" victims.
His figure is about triple most other estimates, and he isn't saying how he came to it. But he's also dismissing a report last month from a British medical journal that put the Iraqi death toll at 655,000. The minister calls that "exaggerated."
(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)