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'14,025 Iraqis missing since 2003 war'
Tue, 26 Apr 2011 04:45:38 GMT
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Iraq's Human Rights Ministry has revealed that over 14,000 Iraqis have gone missing since the 2003 US-led invasion of the country.

"We have registered the names of 14,025 people, who have gone missing since 2003," said a ministry official Arkan Kamel on Monday, quoted in an AFP report.

"Until now, we have only found seven from the registered names at the morgues," he added.

"Missing persons are those who disappeared during war operations, explosions and terrorism attacks,” he explained.

Washington led its allies in the occupation of Iraq under the pretext that the country was then in possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

However, it was later found that not only the country did not harbor any such arms, but that American and British leaders, who heavily promoted and participated in the hugely destructive military action, knew about the non-existence of WMD's in Iraq.

Over one million Iraqis have suffered violent deaths as a result of the occupation, according to a study conducted by the prestigious British polling group, Opinion Research Business.

Militancy and terrorism continue to be rampant in Iraq eight years after the US-led invasion and despite the persisting presence of nearly 50,000 US troops in the war-ravaged country.

However, the American troops are scheduled to completely withdraw from Iraq by the end of the current year in line with a bilateral accord, although top US officials have recently intensified their campaign to further extend their military presence in the oil-rich country.

US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently visited Iraq to plead for continued American troop deployment to the country beyond the December 2011 withdrawal deadline.

Moreover, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen also said last week that Washington would "keep some American troops in the country” at what he claimed as “Baghdad's request.”

Senior Iraqi officials, however, have repeatedly insisted that they no longer desire a US military presence in the country and that the American troop pull-out date must take effect as scheduled.

HN/MGH/MB
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