Iraq to reopen case in 2011 after Wikileaks reveals more truths
March 26, 2006
Iraqis killed by US troops 'on rampage'
Claims of atrocities by soldiers mount
Hala Jaber and Tony Allen-Mills, New York
Khalaf, a 33-year-old security officer guarding oil pipelines, saw a US helicopter land near his home. American soldiers stormed out of the Chinook and advanced on a house owned by Khalaf’s brother Fayez, firing as they went.
Khalaf ran from his own house and hid in a nearby grove of trees. He saw the soldiers enter his brother’s home and then heard the sound of women and children screaming.
“Then there was a lot of machinegun fire,” he said last week. After that there was the most frightening sound of all — silence, followed by explosions as the soldiers left the house.
Once the troops were gone, Khalaf and his fellow villagers began a frantic search through the ruins of his brother’s home. Abu Sifa (Isahaqi, Ishaqi) was about to join a lengthening list of Iraqi communities claiming to have suffered from American atrocities.
According to Iraqi police, 11 bodies were pulled from the wreckage of the house, among them four women and five children aged between six months and five years. An official police report obtained by a US reporter for Knight Ridder newspapers said: “The American forces gathered the family members in one room and executed 11 people.”
The Abu Sifa (Isahaqi, Ishaqi) deaths on March 15 were first reported last weekend on the day that Time magazine published the results of a 10-week investigation into an incident last November when US marines killed 15 civilians in their homes in the western Iraqi town of Haditha.
...In Abu Sifa (Isahaqi, Ishaqi) last week, Khalaf’s account was corroborated by a neighbour, Hassan Kurdi Mahassen, who was also woken by the sound of helicopters and saw soldiers entering Fayez’s home after spraying it with such heavy fire that walls crumbled.
Mahassen said that once the soldiers had left — after apparently dropping several grenades that caused part of the house to collapse — villagers searched under the rubble “and found them all buried in one room”.
“Women and even the children were blindfolded and their hands bound. Some of their faces were totally disfigured. A lot of blood was on the floors and the walls.”
Khalaf said he had found the body of his mother Turkiya with her face unrecognisable. “She had been shot with a dumdum bullet,” he claimed.
Published: 19 March 2006
Iraqi police report details civilians' deaths at hands of U.S. troops
By Matthew Schofield
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqi police have accused American troops of executing 11 people, including a 75-year-old woman and a 6-month-old infant, in the aftermath of a raid last Wednesday on a house about 60 miles north of Baghdad.
The villagers were killed after American troops herded them into a single room of the house, according to a police document obtained by Knight Ridder Newspapers. The soldiers also burned three vehicles, killed the villagers' animals and blew up the house, the document said.
A U.S. military spokesman, Major Tim Keefe, said that the U.S. military has no information to support the allegations and that he had not heard of them before a reporter brought them to his attention Sunday.
"We're concerned to hear accusations like that, but it's also highly unlikely that they're true," he said. He added that U.S. forces "take every precaution to keep civilians out of harms' way. The loss of innocent life, especially children, is regrettable."
Accusations that U.S. troops have killed civilians are commonplace in Iraq, though most are judged later to be unfounded or exaggerated. Navy investigators announced last week that they were looking into whether Marines intentionally killed 15 Iraqi civilians - four of them women and five of them children - during fighting last November.
But the report of the killings in the Abu Sifa area of Ishaqi, eight miles north of the city of Balad, is unusual because it originated with Iraqi police and because Iraqi police were willing to attach their names to it.
The report, which also contained brief descriptions of other events in the area, was compiled by the Joint Coordination Center in Tikrit, a regional security center set up with United States military assistance. An Iraqi police colonel signed the report, which was based on communications from local police.
Brig. Gen. Issa al-Juboori, who heads the center, said that his office assembled the report on Thursday and that it accurately reflects the direction of the current police investigation into the incident.
He also said he knows the officer heading the investigation. "He's a dedicated policeman, and a good cop," he said when reached by phone in Tikrit from Baghdad. "I trust him."
The case involves a U.S. raid conducted, according to the official U.S. account, in response to a tip that a member of al-Qaida in Iraq was at the house.
Neighbors, interviewed by a special correspondent for Knight Ridder, agreed that the al-Qaida member was at the house. They said he was visiting the home's owner, a relative. The neighbors said the homeowner was a schoolteacher.
Tuesday March 21, 2006
Iraqi police claim US troops executed family
· Women and children shot in raid, says official report
Iraqi police have accused American soldiers of executing 11 Iraqi civilians, including four children and a six-month-old baby, in a raid on Wednesday near the city of Balad, it was reported yesterday.
The allegations are contained in an Iraqi police report on the killings, obtained and published by the Knight Ridder news agency. The report emerged at a time when a US navy criminal investigation is under way into a previous incident, in November, in which marines are accused of killing 15 Iraqi civilians in Haditha in reprisal for a bomb attack on a US patrol.
Last week's incident in the village of Abu Sifa, near Balad, stand out because of the seriousness of the accusations and the fact that they appear on an official police report signed by Iraqi officers.
After listing other incidents in the area, the report for March 15 states: "American forces used helicopters to drop troops on the house of Faiz Harat Khalaf situated in the Abu Sifa village of the Ishaqi district. The American forces gathered the family members in one room and executed 11 people, including five children, four women and two men, then they bombed the house, burned three vehicles and killed their animals." Among victims the report lists two five-year-old children, two three-year-olds and a six-month-old baby.
The US military say that the deaths occurred when US troops raided a house in pursuit of an al-Qaida suspect and that only four people were killed. Major Tim Keefe, a US military spokesman in Baghdad said: "A battle damage assessment, the initial reports, said that what they saw were four people killed - a woman and two children and an enemy - and they detained an enemy."
Brigadier General Issa al-Juboori, who runs the joint coordination centre in Tikrit, stood by the report and said he knew the police officer running the investigation. "He's a dedicated policeman, and a good cop," Gen Juboori told Knight Ridder. "I trust him."
Both accounts of the incident agree there was a firefight in the early hours of the morning when US troops raided a house which an al-Qaida suspect was suspected to be visiting. The American account said the house collapsed as a result of the firefight, killing two women, a child, and a man believed to have al-Qaida links. The suspect survived and was captured. But the Iraqi police report suggests that the killings took place when the house was still standing. A local police commander, Lieutenant Colonel Farooq Hussain, said hospital autopsies "revealed that all the victims had bullet shots in the head and all bodies were handcuffed".