When does solid reporting trump the “official word?” and Where is backup evidence to support the Post’s number? Today, most news outlets are reporting the Iraqi Cabinet’s official number of civilians killed since the bombing of the Askariya mosque in Samarra last week. Finally, this afternoon, AP has added some clarification, including the 1,300 number reported in the Washington Post:
The Iraqi Cabinet said 379 people had been killed and 458 wounded in reprisal attacks in the week since bombers destroyed the golden dome atop an important Shiite shrine in the predominantly Sunni Muslim central city of Samarra.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that more than 1,300 Iraqis had been killed since the shrine attack, but the Cabinet statement described that account as “inaccurate and exaggerated.” The Post cited figures from the Baghdad central morgue, but an official there told The Associated Press that as of Sunday night they had received only 249 bodies tied to the violence. The Post figure appeared high based on police and hospital reports from the major population centers at the time of the attacks.
AP: “Multiple Bombings Kill At Least 66 in Baghdad” – 2/28