In 2023Mar, 20th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq led by the US & the UK and the 1st anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the AFP News Agency posted an interview with former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair: Tony Blair: Putin can't use Iraq invasion as justification for Ukraine | AFP.

Blair stated:

The idea that removing a dictator [Saddam Hussein] who's brutalised his people, engaged in two regional wars, in breach of [multiple] UN resolutions and killed 12,000 people in one day through the use of chemical weapons [...]

When did Saddam Hussein kill 12,000 people in one day with chemical weapons?

The closest I found is Halabja massacre, but 3,200 - 5,000 people died on that day, not 12,000.

  • 1
    It turned out he could, mr. Blair...
    – Rekesoft
    Commented Apr 12 at 8:29
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    The question itself creates a false impression. The fact that Saddam Hussein killed his own people with chemical weapons was not the reason for the invasion of Iraq. 3000 or 12000 deaths changes little. Nobody ever talked about intervening at the time. The situation changed after the invasion of Kuwait. But still it was not enough to consider his removal. The US led armies in the first war stopped their action right before causing Hussein's downfall.
    – FluidCode
    Commented Apr 12 at 13:54
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    He probably added the injured in that event. It's not uncommon for the victims (both dead and injured) to be referred to as casualties, and then someone assumes casualties means dead. I've seen it happen in fair number of other instances. Commented Apr 12 at 16:05
  • @FluidCode 'was not the reason for the invasion of Iraq' - I believe Tony was just pointing out how evil Saddam was compared to how Volodymyr Zelenskyy is. I have no idea how relevant that was. What do you suggest?
    – BCLC
    Commented Apr 30 at 7:58
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    @BCLC why was this question edited from "Did" to "When"? Especially after it has been answered 18 days ago.
    – Ona
    Commented Apr 30 at 9:16

1 Answer 1


He probably added the injured in that event. Wikipedia gives

Deaths 3,200–5,000 Injured 7,000–10,000

FWTW, an Al-Jazeera piece (by a Western author) similarly claims:

Some 5,000 people – mainly women and children – died on the day, and up to 12,000 have lost their lives since.

Whether that's fair math. YMMV. There are a few studies, incl. on children, finding that most survivors had significant impairments even decades later, but I've not been able to find one that estimated how much that shortened their lives.

Anyhow, the claim that 12,000 died on the spot is probably false.


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