Gunbattle in al-Falluja
- Eric Mueller has translated the following report from the Arabic-
language London newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi describing recent
battles in Iraq.
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I mentioned an attack in al-Falluja last night. Here,
from tomorrow's paper is a fuller account of that
incident. Since it relies mostly on Iraqi
eyewitnesses and one American military spokesman (whos
name is spelled as best as I can reconstruct it) it
makes no mention of US casualties. Notice, however,
the duration of the gunbattle.
Al-Quds al-Arabi, London, Friday, 23 May 2003.
Americans kill two Iraqis in a new case of
indiscriminate gunfire in al-Falluja.
Al-Falluja (Iraq) � Khaled Ya'qub 'Uways. Armed men
fired rockets at an American armoured vehicle in the
troubled town of al-Falluja late on Wednesday,
impelling American forces to respond by opening fire.
Two martyrs fell as a result of the American gunfire.
Iraqi residents accused the American soldiers of
Captain Mike Riedmueller, the American commander
responsible for the Fox unit that occupies al-Falluja,
that his forces were attacked by rockets and AK-47
gunfire while they were on patrol in the city.
He added, we were subjected to sniper fire from
rooftops and we returned fire for an hour or two.
The incident led to an intensification of tension in
the town, which witnessed clashes between American
forces and local residents after the fall of the
Saddam Hussein regime. At least 15 Iraqis were killed
in clashes between demonstrators and the American
forces last month.
On May 1st, an explosion in the town left seven
American soldiers wounded. Residents recall that they
have heard the sound of explosions in the center of
al-Falluja that is located 50 kilometers northwest of
Baghdad at 11 p.m on Wednesday (19:00 GMT). Rocket
projectiles were still to be found in the area of the
battles yesterday. A number of shops were destroyed.
Residents reported that the American forces opened
fire indiscriminately apparently in the direction of
the center of town after coming under attack. Two
people riding in a small truck that happened to be
driving by the place were killed. The wreckage of
their vehicle is still there.
Safi Jaber, an eyewitness, said that they were firing
in every direction. Later the Americans stopped an
ambulance that was attempting to approach the truck.
Residents said that a small American tank struck the
Riedmueller, however, denied that and said that it was
the truck that ran into the American armored vehicle,
and it was at that point that the soldiers opened fire
on the Iraqis inside the truck.
One of the victims was a youth aged 19 by the name of
Hadi Jaber. Khalil Ibrahim, an electrical engineer
for Reuters, said he was supposed be getting married
Residents reported that the American soldiers raided
their homes searching for the attackers. The soldiers
later withdrew from the industrial zone in which the
attack occurred, but their patrols continued to make
their rounds in other parts of the city.
Iyyad Qubayssi said, while standing in front of his
shop where he sells spare parts, and which was
destroyed, "Saddam never would destroy our homes. Is
this the liberation that they talk about?" (Meaning
the American President, George Bush).