A U.S. government audit shows that at least 232 civilians have been killed while working on U.S. reconstruction projects in Iraq.

The report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction indicates the death toll of those employees for private contractors increased 93 percent in recent months (the fourth quarter of 2004). In addition to those killed, 728 claims were filed for employees who missed more than four days of work.

The inspector's report says "Iraq's unsettled security environment continues to present grave risks for contractors and employees."

The quarterly report sent to U.S. Congress based its information on statistics from the U.S. Labor Department compiled from workers' compensation claims filed by all U.S. government contractors.

Some information provided for this report by AP and Reuters.