U.N.: 3,709 Iraqis Killed In October

Iraqis react following a military raid in the Shiite district of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2006. Coalition forces raided Baghdad's Sadr City Shiite stronghold on Tuesday, killing three people, including a young boy, police said.
AP Photo/Karim Kadim
At least 101 Iraqis died in the country's unending sectarian slaughter Wednesday, and the United Nations reported that 3,709 Iraqi civilians were killed in October, the highest monthly toll of the 44-month-old war and one that was sure to be eclipsed when this month's dead are counted.

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq also said citizens were fleeing the country at a pace of 100,000 each month, and that at least 1.6 million Iraqis had left since the war began.

President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced they will meet Nov. 29-30 in Jordan to discuss the deteriorating security situation in Iraq. "We will focus our discussions on current developments in Iraq, progress made to date in the deliberations of a high-level joint committee on transferring security responsibilities, and the role of the region in supporting Iraq," they said in a statement.

Although collecting accurate statistics in a war zone is impossible, these figures, compiled with the help of the Iraqi health authorities, give some idea of the overall scale and shape of the violence, CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reports. One hundred and ten children were killed in the past two months and 351 women, according to this report, are being singled out for abuse by religious extremists.

Life for Iraqis, especially in Baghdad and cities and towns in the center of the country, has become increasingly untenable. Many schools failed to open at all in September and professionals — especially professors, physicians, politicians and journalists — were falling to sectarian killer at a stunning pace.

Three hundred teachers have been killed since the start of the year. About 2 million Iraqis have either left, or been forced from their homes, since the invasion, and 1.5 million have left the country already, Palmer reports. And many of those leaving are the best and the brightest.

Lynchings have been reported as Sunnis and Shiites conduct a merciless campaign of revenge killings. Some Shiite residents in the north of Baghdad neighborhood of Hurriyah claim that militiamen and death squads are holding Sunni captives in warehouses then slaughtering them at the funerals of Shiites killed in the tit-for-tat murders.

"Because the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq is on the ground throughout Iraq, they have a more accurate birds-eye view of the deteriorating conditions," said CBS News foreign affairs analyst Pamela Falk from the U.N. "The human rights report covers areas that have not been available from other agencies or the press, including arbitrary detentions and torture."

The U.N. report was released as assassins killed a bodyguard of Iraq's parliament speaker one day after a bomb exploded in the hot-tempered politician's motorcade as it drove into a parking lot inside the fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad. It was a major security breach in the heavily guarded compound that houses the U.S. and British embassies and the Iraqi government.

In other developments:

  • The U.S. military reports that three Marines have been killed in Anbar province, the troubled region of western Iraq where many Sunni-Arab insurgents are based. The command says the Marines, assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7, died Wednesday from wounds sustained during enemy action. So far this month in Iraq, 52 American service members have been killed or died.
  • The Marines may need to grow a bit. The Marine Corps commandant says unless more men and women are added to the force, the Marines might not be able to sustain their deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan without undue stress, or without sacrificing needed training. General James Conway also told reporters this morning it could take years to adequately train and equip Iraq's security forces. And he says that could be longer than the timeline that the American people "will support."
  • U.S. and Iraqi forces backed by helicopters swept into Baghdad's Sadr City Shiite slum in a dark-of-night raid Tuesday that netted seven militiamen, including one believed to know the whereabouts of an American soldier kidnapped nearly a month ago.
  • A Marine pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice in the death of Iraqi civilian who was shot and killed by his military unit. Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr. entered his pleas through his civilian attorney Steve Immel during court-martial proceedings and was expected to testify about the April incident in the town of Hamdania.
  • The debate over what to do about the war on Iraq - complete with catch phrases to describe each plan - has intensified, with word of a secret report on the issue, commissioned by Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. According to the Washington Post Monday, the options are: "Go big, go long or go home."
  • Violence also continued against Iraq's journalists Wednesday, when gunmen sprayed Raad Jaafar Hamadi with bullets as he drove his car in the capital's Washash neighborhood, said police 1st Lt. Maitham Abdul-Razaq. Hamadi worked for the state-run al-Sabah newspaper.