The Seige on Ad-Dulu'iyah
Salah ad-Din Province.
US forces creep forward, tightening stranglehold on
ad-Dulu`iyah. Eleven pregnant women die after
American forces prevented them from going to maternity
hospitals. Defiant local leaders refuse to hand over
Resistance fighters "only over our dead bodies"
they tell the advancing Americans.
In a dispatch posted at 9pm Makkah time Friday night,
Mafkarat al-Islam reported that one of the Shaykhs in
the town of ad-Dulu `iyah, 97km north of Baghdad as
said that the US occupation forces are continuing to
maintain their strangle-hold blockade on the city.
For well over a week, the Americans have prevented
food and medicine from getting into the city. The US
forces also prevented 19 pregnant women from leaving
the city to get to a maternity hospital outside the
beleaguered city. As a result, 11 of the women died.
The correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam reported the
Shaykh as saying that the US forces surrounding
ad-Dulu`iyah have actually been unable to storm the
city thus far, though they have been slowly creeping
forward every day.
"Every day they advance little by little but with
large numbers of armored and other vehicles under the
cover of their fighter-bombers into the city area,"
the Shaykh said. "In the course of this creeping
advance, unequal clashes break out between the
occupation troops and the Iraqi Resistance," he noted.
In the last five days the Iraqi Resistance has killed
or wounded 30 American troops, destroyed six vehicles,
and disabled five more of them, the Shaykh reported,
noting that this is according to data supplied by the
Resistance fighters in the field who have no
information regarding what damage and casualties their
rocket and mortar strikes on the Americans might have
Regarding talks held between the American occupation
forces and the local notables, the Shaykh told
Mafkarat al-Islam: "They want us to turn over the
Resistance fighters to them, but we told them that if
we turn over the Resistance men to them that would
mean that we had handed over our honor, but that won't
happen except over our dead bodies and the dead bodies
of all the people of this city."
The Shaykh issued an appeal, via the Mafkarat al-Islam
correspondent, calling on all the international and
Arab news agencies to come to ad-Dulu`iyah. "It is
our duty before God as the people and leaders of this
city to protect and preserve the people here. We just
want the news media to come and broadcast the news of
the tragedy of the city."
The Shaykh, whose identity Mafkarat al-Islam agreed
not to reveal, called on the religious scholars of the
Muslim world community to take a stand, if only by
uttering one word against what is happening in Iraq,
and the war against the Sunni population in the
country, before there are no more Sunni citizens left.
He expressed the hope that his appeal would reach
those religious scholars who are alive to the problems
of the Muslim world community, not those who act as if
they were dead.
Marines 'left traumatised by killings in Haditha'
By Sam Knight and agencies
Two US Marines ordered to photograph the corpses of more than 20
unarmed Iraqi civilians allegedly massacred by their comrades were
left severely traumatised by the sight, according to the soldiers'
Lance Corporal Andrew Wright, 20, and Lance Corporal Roel Ryan
Briones, 21, both Marines based at Camp Pendleton, California, were
sent to photograph and remove the bodies of up to 24 Iraqi men, women
and children who were shot last November in the western Iraqi city of
According to their parents, both men have struggled with
post-traumatic stress disorder ever since. What they saw that day has
become the subject of two US military investigations and is
threatening to become, alongside Abu Ghraib, a defining horror of the
American-led invasion of Iraq.
Iraqi witnesses and US politicians who have seen evidence from the
investigations say that a group of Marines from Kilo Company, 3rd
Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, went on the
rampage after a popular soldier was killed by a roadside bomb.
US soldiers allegedly shot up a taxi before going from house to house,
throwing grenades and killing a family at close range.
Several members of Kilo Company are currently confined to their
barracks in Camp Pendleton, between San Diego and Los Angeles, while
the investigations, one focusing on the alleged killings, the other on
an alleged military cover-up, reach their conclusion.
As Americans spent Memorial Day weekend digesting news reports from
Haditha, including a /Times/ investigation into the alleged killings
Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the most
senior uniformed US officer, urged the country not to jump to
conclusions about what took place.
"We want to find out what happened and we'll make it public," he told
CNN. "If the allegations, as they are being portrayed in the
newspaper, turn out to be valid, then of course there will be charges.
But we don't know yet what the outcome will be."
The mother of Corporal Briones said her son was ordered to take
pictures of the bodies in Haditha on his personal digital camera,
which he was then told to hand over to the US Navy. "It was horrific.
It was a terrible scene," she told the Associated Press.
Mrs Briones called the incident "a massacre" and said Corporal
Briones, who won a Purple Heart after he was injured on his first tour
of duty in Iraq, had found himself moving the body of a young girl who
had been shot in the head. "He had to carry that little girl?s body,"
she said, "and her head was blown off and her brain splattered on his
Corporal Wright?s parents, Patty and Frederick Wright of Novato,
California, declined to say what might have happened to the pictures
their son took, but said he had turned over all of his information to
the Navy. "He is the Forrest Gump of the military," Mr Wright said.
"He ended up in the spotlight through no fault of his own."
The spark to the violence was the death of Lance Corporal Miguel
Terrazas, 20, of El Paso, Texas, a close friend of Corporal Briones,
who was killed by a roadside bomb as his patrol passed through the
streets of Haditha, a notorious base for insurgents.
Interviewed yesterday on National Public Radio, Corporal Terrazas's
uncle, Andy Terrazas, a former Marine, said: "I hope this is over soon
so they can just let him rest in peace. I hope these Marines come out
clean, but I guess it's not looking too good, right?"
Haditha Inquiry Finds Attempted Cover-Up
The US military investigation of how Marine commanders handled the
reporting of events last November in the Iraqi town of Haditha, where
troops allegedly killed 24 Iraqi civilians, will conclude that some
officers gave false information to their superiors, who then failed to
adequately scrutinize reports that should have caught their attention.
Furor grows over civilian deaths in Iraq
By KIM GAMEL
Fri Jun 2, 2006
BAGHDAD, Iraq - A third set of allegations that U.S. troops have
deliberately killed civilians is fueling a furor in Iraq and drawing
strong condemnations from government and human rights officials.
"It looks like the killing of Iraqi civilians is becoming a daily
phenomenon," the chairman of the Iraqi Human Rights Association,
Muayed al-Anbaki, said Friday after video ran on television of
children and adults slain in a raid in March on the Iraqi village of
Ishaqi north of Baghdad.
Al-Anbaki's comments came a day after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki
upbraided the U.S. military over allegations that Marines killed two
dozen unarmed civilians in the western city of Haditha, calling it "a
horrible crime." They were his strongest public comments on the
subject since his government was sworn in last month.
U.S. commanders have ordered new ethics training for all troops in
Iraq. But the flow of revelations and investigations threatens to
undermine Iraq's new government and public support in America for
President Bush's management of the war.
Iraq's government also began its own investigation of the deaths in
In addition to the Haditha case, in which Marines are alleged to have
gunned down 24 civilians in a rage of revenge for a bombing that
killed a Marine in November, seven Marines and a Navy corpsman could
face murder, kidnapping and conspiracy charges as early as Friday in
the April shooting death of an Iraqi man in yet another incident, a
defense attorney said Thursday.
Military prosecutors plan to file the charges against the seven
servicemen, who are being held in solitary confinement at Camp
Pendleton, Calif., Marine Corps base, said Jeremiah Sullivan III, who
represents one of the men.
The Iraqi man reportedly was dragged from his home west of Baghdad and
shot. The Los Angeles Times and NBC News said troops may have planted
an AK-47 and a shovel near the body to make it appear as if the man
was an insurgent burying a roadside bomb. Neither suggested a possible
The U.S. military had no additional comment Friday on the accusations
stemming from a raid March 15 in the village of Ishaqi, about 50 miles
north of Baghdad.
In March, the U.S. military said four people died when they attacked
from the ground and air a house suspected of holding an al-Qaida
operative. The house was destroyed.
But footage shot by an AP Television News cameraman at the time shows
at least five children dead and at least one adult male and four of
the children with deep wounds to the head that could have been caused
by bullets or shrapnel. One child has an obvious entry wound to the
side, and the inside of the walls left standing were pocked with
The March report spelled the village's name as Isahaqi.
Local Iraqis said there were 11 total dead, and charged that they were
killed by U.S. troops before the house was leveled.
The video includes an unidentified man saying "children were stuck in
the room, alone and surrounded."
"After they handcuffed them, they shot them dead. Later, they struck
the house with their planes. They wanted to hide the evidence. Even a
6-month-old infant was killed. Even the cows were killed, too," he said.
The video included shots of the bodies of five children and two men
wrapped in blankets.
Other video showed the bodies of three children in the back of a
pickup truck that took them to the hospital in Tikrit,
Saddam Hussein's former hometown.
Police Capt. Laith Mohammed said the March 15 attack that hit Ishaqi
involved U.S. warplanes and armor.
Riyadh Majid, who identified himself as the nephew of Faez Khalaf, the
head of the household who was killed, told AP at the time that U.S.
forces landed in helicopters and raided the home.
Khalaf's brother, Ahmed, said nine of the victims were family members
who lived at the house and two were visitors.
The U.S. military, which said in March that the allegations were being
investigated, said it was targeting and captured an individual
suspected of supporting foreign fighters of the al-Qaida in Iraq
terrorist network. It had no further comment Friday.
Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, spokesman for U.S.-led forces in Iraq,
said at a news conference Thursday that "about three or four"
inquiries were being carried out around the country, but he would not
provide any details.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Friday defended the training
and conduct of U.S. troops and said incidents such as the alleged
massacre of Iraqi civilians shouldn't happen.
"We know that 99.9 percent of our forces conduct themselves in an
exemplary manner. We also know that in conflicts things that shouldn't
happen, do happen," he said. "We don't expect U.S. soldiers to act
that way, and they're trained not to."
U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales called the allegations "very,
very serious" and said the world will see a thorough military
"If people are found to have committed crimes, those people will be
held responsible and they will be held accountable," Gonzales said
Friday in an interview with WOAI-AM, a radio station in San Antonio.
"The president expects that, and I know the leadership in the military
wants to see that happen as well."
Iraqi officials and relatives also said U.S. forces killed two Iraqi
women one of them about to give birth when the troops shot at a
car that failed to stop at an observation post in Samarra, 60 miles
north of Baghdad.
The U.S. military said coalition troops fired at a car after it
entered a clearly marked prohibited area near an observation post but
failed to stop despite repeated visual and auditory warnings. It said
the incident was being investigated.
Army Brig. Gen. Donald Campbell, the chief of staff of the
Multinational Corps-Iraq, said at a briefing Friday that incidents of
misconduct could result from the stress and fear of battling an enemy
that doesn't abide by the rules of war, and often cannot be
distinguished from the civilian population.
"It doesn't excuse the acts that have occurred, and we're going to
look into them. But I would say it's stress, fear, isolation and, in
some cases, they're just upset. They see their buddies getting blown
up on occasion, and they could snap," Campbell said.
Blinded by Hate in Haditha
Jun. 3, 2006
WASHINGTONEven by the legendary standards of the U.S. Marine Corps,
where kinship and camaraderie have long been celebrated, the men of
Kilo Company were extraordinarily tight, a real life band of brothers.
They were a family of young men, some with ties dating back to boot
camp, all with allegiances forged in the daily battle for survival
where friend was indistinguishable from foe in one of the most
frightening and deadly areas of Iraq.
When they lost one of their own last November, they had, said one,
"lost a brother from a different mother.''
One member tattooed the name of the fallen soldier, Lance Cpl. Miguel
(T.J.) Terrazas, on his arm and the dead soldier's family in El Paso,
Tex., was swamped with cards, banners and tributes to the man who, his
sergeant said, "brought a smile everywhere he went.''
But when Kilo Company first came upon the lifeless, mangled body of
their comrade, "a giant hole in his chin, his eyes rolled up in his
skull,'' as one put it, they may have had a much more base reaction to
the sudden death of T.J.
"I think they were just blinded by hate ... and they just lost
control,'' said Lance Cpl. James Crossan of Washington State, himself
badly injured when the Humvee convoy was blown apart by a bomb
imbedded in the dusty Haditha road.
Maybe they just snapped that day in Haditha, going from home to home
firing at unarmed women, children, an old man in a wheelchair, then
five youths who happened on the scene until, their vengeance finally
sated, they began an elaborate cover-up that endured against all odds
for almost three months.
"After 12 to 18 months over there, you can crack,'' says Jon Soltz, an
Iraq war veteran who now heads a political action committee for other
"In Iraq, everyone is a killer. No matter how much training you have,
after that length of time in that atmosphere, you can't train someone
not to crack.''
The alleged Haditha massacre, which left 24 Iraqis dead, had already
shaken this country.
It had particularly rattled Marine veterans so proud of their almost
mythical, professional warrior tradition.
But just as they were trying to make sense of what happened that
morning of Nov. 19, 2005, more allegations surfaced adding up to
perhaps the darkest week for the U.S. military since it began
operations in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2003.
Seven other Marines and a navy corpsman are being held and could face
murder, kidnapping and conspiracy charges in connection with the April
26 killing of an unarmed Iraqi man in Hamandiya.
Investigators say those being held at Camp Pendleton, Calif., may have
placed a shovel and an AK-47 near the body to make it appear he was an
insurgent planting a bomb.
The military was also forced to take another look at charges that 11
Iraqi civilians, including women and children, were gunned down March
15, 2006 in Isahaqi, north of Baghdad. The incident was originally
described by American authorities as a firefight that killed four
Iraqis, including an Al Qaeda-linked insurgent holed up in a private home.
Late yesterday, the U.S. defence department said its probe cleared the
troops of misconduct, despite dramatic video footage of slain children.
After being fired on, the soldiers called in air strikes by an air
force gunship, which attacked and collapsed the building, the defence
Local Iraqis said the 11 civilians were killed by U.S. troops before
the house was levelled.
The bloody aftermath of the attack was captured at the time in video
footage shot by an AP Television News cameraman. The footage shows at
least one adult male and four of the children with deep wounds to the
head that could have been caused by bullets or shrapnel.
In Samarra, north of Baghdad, two Iraqi women, including one about to
give birth, were shot and killed by U.S. troops this week.
That, too, is under investigation.
And in Afghanistan, U.S. troops are fending off allegations that they
fired into a crowd not over their heads, as they said after a
military vehicle crashed into cars in Kabul, triggering a riot.
Since the sordid tale of Haditha started dripping out, no one, from
U.S. President George W. Bush on down, has suggested the media has
"In conflicts things that shouldn't happen, do happen,'' said a sombre
Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
A senior commander on the ground was more specific.
"When you're in a combat theatre dealing with enemy combatants who
don't abide by the law of war, who do acts of indecency, soldiers
become stressed, they become fearful,'' said Brig.-Gen. Donald
Campbell. "It's very difficult to determine in some cases on this
battlefield who is a combatant and who is a civilian.
"It doesn't excuse the acts that have occurred, and we're going to
look into them. But I would say it's stress, fear, isolation and, in
some cases, they're just upset.
"They see their buddies getting blown up on occasion, and they could
But revenge is not supposed to be in the Marine playbook.
It happens, analysts say, because U.S. soldiers are overstretched in Iraq.
They are back for second, sometimes third tours of duty.
In Haditha, most of Kilo Company were at least on their second tour,
after only seven months in between, returning to an area that had been
a killing field for Marines six were killed in only three days last
August and 14 perished in one blast last summer, the deadliest
roadside bomb attack in the Iraq war.
They are fighting an insurgency that plays by no rules and shields
themselves behind innocent civilians.
"I can understand how you can snap," said Aine Donovan, a former U.S.
Naval Academy professor who now heads the Ethics Institute at New
Hampshire's Dartmouth College. "How many tours of duty should we
expect of our young men? Every time you send them back there, you are
pushing the limits of probability," Gary Solis, a former Marine and
West Point Academy instructor who now teaches the law of war at
Georgetown University law school, says it is particularly painful for
a Marine to think one of his own may have committed such a crime.
"We are the elite. Professionalism is stressed," he said. "And when
you have to exercise that professionalism is when the guy beside you
has been shot up. You don't turn around and start shooting everyone in
The Marine determination to protect each other may also explain what
appears to be an elaborate cover-up.
When Time magazine first inquired about the allegations of murder, it
was told it was being played as a dupe.
Another military representative, the magazine reported, told its
reporter that civilian deaths were caused by the insurgents placing
the Iraqis in the line of Marine fire.
But the story began to unravel.
A decision up the chain was made to pay families of victims a total of
$38,000 (U.S.) $2,000 per head for all those killed in their homes,
a practice that usually indicates compensation for wrongful deaths.
A military probe has already concluded those involved on the ground
lied to superiors and those superiors did not really study the report
of the incident to look for any holes.
All this has made it difficult for the grieving Terrazas family in El
Paso to move on with their lives.
Miguel Terrazas' brother, Martin Terrazas Jr., told National Public
Radio he doesn't believe his brothers' buddies avenged his death with
But he also said he knew the realities of war.
"These guys are trained to go out there and fight,'' he said. "That's
their job and that's what they're going to do. And for war, I guess
it's either their kids or our kids, you know? It's their blood or our
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