Back to Ishaqi: Mass Death in the Fog of War

There has been another alleged atrocity in Ishaqi, site of a contentious mass killing of civilians in March 2006, which we examined here, here and here. The new attack occured on December 9, in the Ishaqi district village of Taima. I will be writing about this in more detail soon, but briefly, the new controversy once again revolves around wildly differing accounts of the incident given by U.S. military spokesmen and officials of the U.S.-backed Iraqi government on the scene. Eyewitness and photographic evidence supplied by Western news agencies at the site also call the official account into some question.

In the American account, unspecified "Coalition forces" ("There are some units we don't talk about," the U.S. spokesman said when asked for details) killed 20 "al-Qaeda fighters" and support personnel, including two women, in a raid involving ground troops and an airstrike on two houses in the village. In the account given by Ishaqi's mayor and other officials at the scene, the airstrike wiped out most of two extended families in the village, killing 19 civilians, including seven women and eight children. Local officials supplied the names of 17 of the alleged victims. Western agency reporters at the scene said most of the bodies were charred beyond recognition, but that at least two children were identifiable among the corpses.

I hope to have more on the case, and its implications, in a day or two.

*Post updated with new information.*