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Hundreds of people died while rebuilding Iraq, nearly half of them Americans, according to a new report.
At least 719 people were killed while working on rebuilding Iraq after the American invasion in 2003, according to a new report from a federal investigative agency, the Associated Press reported.
The first of its kind, the tally includes the lawyers, engineers, contractors and other rebuilders who died while trying to rebuild Iraq's shattered economy and infrastructure. Nearly half of the 719 were Americans, said the AP.
Bloomberg put the number of American deaths at 318.
The dead included 264 of the 4,409 American troops who died between May 1, 2003 and August 30, 2010, according to the audit, Bloomberg reported. The audit was carried out by Stuart Bowen, a special inspector general for the Iraqi reconstruction.
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"We know our number is understated," said Glenn D. Furbish, the deputy inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, according to the AP.
Bloomberg noted that the audit is the first attempt to tally deaths associated with the reconstruction effort, funded by a congressionally appropriated $60 billion.
The Press Association noted that the Iraq war has no confirmed death toll. The US military lost 4,488 troops, while its allies lost 300. The estimated number of Iraqi deaths is thought to exceed 100,000.
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The tally includes civilians, contractors, military members and third-country nationals who trained, advised, audited and inspected in the reconstruction effort.
Sen. Susan Collins said the report was a "reminder that attempting to build roads, schools and other infrastructure in the middle of a war zone not only carries with it an increased frequency of fraud and waste, but also a devastating price in human life," according to the AP.