More than 600 Iraqis have been killed in the fighting in Fallujah over the past week, the head of the city's hospital said Sunday.
Statistics on deaths were gathered from four main clinics around the city and from Fallujah General Hospital, hospital director Rafie al-Issawi told The Associated Press. They totaled more than 600 dead since the siege of Fallujah began early Monday, he said.
The actual number of dead in the city may be higher, he said.
"We have reports of an unknown number of dead being buried in people's homes without coming to the clinics," al-Issawi said.
Bodies were being buried at two soccer fields in Fallujah. An AP reporter saw one of the fields, dubbed the "Graveyard of the Martyrs" by residents, where there was row after row of freshly dug graves, with wooden planks for headstones with names on them.
Khalaf al-Jumaili, a volunteer helping bury bodies at the field, said more than 300 people had been interred there. It was not known how many were buried at the other soccer field.
Volunteers were seen carrying in bodies in blankets and lowering them into graves, while people shouted, "Martyr, martyr!"
Asked Sunday about the number of Iraqi casualties in Fallujah, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt referred reporters to Marine spokesmen. He said the Marines are "tremendously precise" in their operations and suggested insurgents were hiding among civilians, causing civilian deaths.
Lt. Col. Brennan Byrne, commander of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, said Marines from his battalion _ one of three in or around Fallujah _ had confirmed the deaths of 40 Iraqi insurgents. Another 19 were likely dead, he said.