Ali Yussef  /  AFP - Getty Images file
Iraqis mourn over the coffin of a relative outside the morgue of a hospital in Baquba on December 2. Nearly 35,000 civilians were killed last year in Iraq, the United Nations reported Tuesday.
updated 1/16/2007 6:08:45 PM ET 2007-01-16T23:08:45

Nearly 35,000 civilians were killed last year in Iraq, the United Nations said Tuesday, a sharp increase from the numbers reported previously by the Iraqi government.

Gianni Magazzeni, the chief of the U.N. Assistance Ministry for Iraq, said 34,452 civilians were killed and 36,685 were wounded last year.

Earlier estimates had put the number killed at more than 12,000.

When asked about the discrepancy, Magazzeni said the U.N. figures were compiled from information obtained through the Iraqi Health Ministry, operations centers at hospitals across the country and other agencies.

"Without significant progress in the rule of law sectarian violence will continue indefinitely and eventually spiral out of control," he warned.

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