Experts: Dresden Bombing Killed Fewer Than Thought

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The bombing of Dresden -- eastern Germany's cultural center -- has been a sore point in German relations with the countries of the Allied forces, coming with such vengeance so late in World War II.

The city was devastated, and there were enormous casualties among civilians and refugees. Historians have argued about just how many people were killed in the firebombing on the night of Feb. 13-14, 1945, with estimates ranging from 25,000 to 135,000.

Now, a special commission of a dozen experts, including university professors, archivists and military historians have said that after four years of research, the lower figure is more accurate.

So far, they have confirmed 18,000 deaths and say they have found no reason to assume that the final tally will be significantly higher. Their research is to continue until 2009.

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