U.S. killed innocent man: Iraqis
- The most powerful Sunni Muslim party in Iraq issued an angry
statement Saturday accusing Americans of covering up the killing of
an innocent member of the party.
Powerful Iraqi party claims U.S. killed innocent man:
By Leila Fadel
BAGHDAD The most powerful Sunni Muslim party in Iraq issued an
angry statement Saturday accusing Americans of covering up the
killing of an innocent member of the party.
The Iraqi Islamic Party of Vice President Tariq al Hashimi suspended
all "official communication" with American military and civilian
officials in Iraq Saturday until it receives an "explanation . . .
official apology . . . and a vow to stop the campaign of harassment
against the party."
The statement followed an incident Friday in which U.S. and Iraqi
forces raided a home six miles west of Fallujah in predominantly
Sunni Anbar province, detained one man and killed another. The
Islamic Party accused the American military of detaining five
innocent members of the party and killing Sajed Yasseen Hameed,
44, "in his bed in cold blood."
The U.S. military said in a statement that the raid was conducted
based on a Ministry of Interior warrant for a member of the Hamas al
Iraq insurgent group. When troops raided the home, an armed man shot
at them and they returned fire, the statement said. The Iraqi Army
found homemade bombs, a detonation cord and blasting caps in the room
where the man was arrested, the statement said.
"The individual detained on 24 October was a leader of Hamas al Iraq.
The arrest was conducted under Iraqi authority by the Iraqi Army with
Coalition forces in support," Rear Admiral Patrick Driscoll, a
spokesman for the U.S. military in Iraq, said in an e-mail. "The
evidence of an explosives cache found in the suspect's room certainly
indicates that this person was involved in terrorist activity, not
Hamas al Iraq is an offshoot of the 1920 Revolution Brigade, a Sunni
insurgent group, and both groups consider themselves part of the
resistance against foreign occupation. Some members of both groups,
however, have negotiated with the Americans, and many have joined the
U.S.-backed mostly Sunni militias known as the Sons of Iraq.
The Iraqi Islamic Party, in danger of losing power to the growing,
U.S.-backed Awakening council in Anbar provincial elections, accused
the Americans of acting on false information and targeting the party.
The Islamic Party participated in the political process that other
Sunnis boycotted in 2005, but its accusations come as provincial
elections approach and the U.S. and Iraqi government are at odds over
a long-term security agreement to replace the United Nations mandate
that governs U.S. actions in Iraq.
The accusations implied that U.S. forces, which handed security in
the western Sunni heartland over to Iraqis in September, were acting
on information from the rival party, which is widely credited with
helping drive al Qaida in Iraq out of Anbar.
"There is direct and indirect targeting that is visible, audible and
touchable by the Americans against leaderships in the Islamic Party
in the province," said Omar Abdul Sattar, a leading lawmaker from the
Sunni party. "The repeated targeting by al Qaida and Americans
against our forces is an ironic coincidence . . . we will not allow
for our members to be targeted with false reports and be killed in
their beds in cold blood."
The party's statement said that local police "condemned" the incident
and said the raid was "political." It also accused the Americans of
continuing to control the province after responsibility for security
had been handed to Iraq.
"This is very unacceptable, especially when we are pushing the U.S.
and Iraq to be in a better relationship," said Alaa Makki, a leading
member of the Iraqi Islamic Party and a legislator. "This action put
an alarm in our way with the relationship with the Americans."
In Fallujah on Friday, a Muslim cleric repeated a condemnation over
loudspeakers and called on local leaders to act.
"We are your people and our security is your job," he said.
McClatchy Special Correspondents Jamal Naji contributed from Fallujah
and Mohammed al Dulaimy from Baghdad.
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