The campaign group Iraq Body Count has been recording the number of civilians reported to have
|The remains are believed to be that of Shia rebels|
been killed during the Iraq war and subsequent military presence.
On 1 December 2005, it put the total number of civilian dead at between 25,685 and 29,201 and the number of police dead at 1,640.
Iraq Body Count uses a survey of online news reports to produce its running tally, including a "minimum" and "maximum" figure where reports differ, or it is unclear whether a person killed was a civilian.
IRAQ BODY COUNT LINKS
Iraq Body Count - main page
Iraq Body Count - methodology
The figures include not only deaths caused by military action, but also those it considers a "direct result" of Iraq's breakdown in law and order.
In a statement on its website, Iraq Body Count says "civilian casualties are the most unacceptable consequence of all wars" and must be recorded and - if possible - investigated.
Because it relies on deaths reported by the media, it suggests its figures are an underestimate as "many if not most civilian casualties will go unreported".
On 12 December, US President George W Bush said about 30,000 Iraqis had been killed since the war began.
His spokesman later said the figure was not an official one and was based on "public estimates cited by media reports" - a method similar to that used by Iraq Body Count.
Nevertheless, Iraq Body Count's methods and its ability to compile accurate statistics have been questioned by critics, with some arguing that it has greatly underestimated the number of casualties.
One study, published by the Lancet medical journal in October 2004, suggested that poor planning, air strikes by coalition forces and a "climate of violence" had led to more than 100,000 extra deaths in Iraq.
The US and UK governments have both said the chaotic situation in Iraq makes it impossible to gather such information accurately.