Atrocity Reports From Fallujah

April 25, 2004

As the U.S. military siege of the Iraqi city of Fallujah continues, reports are emerging everyday of atrocities being committed against the city's population.

Since April 4, 2,000 troops have encircled the city.

According to Associated Press (AP) wire reports, the U.S. military is using tanks, artillery, cluster bombs from F-16 fighter aircraft, attack helicopters, and AC-130 Spectre gunships against the people, and at least 600 Iraqis have been killed and over 1,500 wounded. Marine snipers have shot and killed "scores" of Iraqis during the past few weeks, and an estimated 60,000 residents of the city have fled. Makeshift mass graves for all the dead have started appearing inside and outside the city.

On April 23, BBC reported that humanitarian workers inside the city witnessed "U.S. gunmen firing at ambulances and civilians." Clinics were overwhelmed because of a bridge closure by U.S. forces, which cut off access to the main hospital. An Iraqi member of the "Doctors for Iraq" humanitarian society," speaking to the BBC, described seeing colleagues blown up in an ambulance -- clearly marked -- travelling in front of him as his team tried to enter a U.S.-controlled area. In a separate incident reported by the BBC, a driver and paramedic in an ambulance were shot in a U.S.-controlled area -- one in the chest, the other in the eyes. The injured civilians inside the ambulance bled to death during the next two days as warning shots were fired when the team tried - four times - to return to collect the ambulance.

According to a first-hand report from an Iraqi dentist working in Fallujah (see IslamOnline.net), most of the victims in Fallujah are innocent bystanders, including many women and children. "I was in Fallujah and I saw with my own eyes many civilians and ordinary people lying dead on the streets...the dead, mostly children and women, are not militiamen or resistance fighters but rather ordinary people, who stood up to the U.S. occupation troops to defend their homeland." Another eyewitness stated in the same report that "So many people are lacking water, electricity and medical services.... "Most of the time nobody can get in or out of Fallujah."

Below we reprint excerpts from some other first-person reports.

Fallujah Residents Report U.S. Forces Engaged in Collective Punishment
[April 24th weblog by Dahr Jamail]

...Abu Muher said U.S. warplanes were bombing the city heavily last Saturday prior to his departure, and that Marine snipers continued to take their toll, shot after shot, on residents of the besieged city. "There were so many snipers, anyone leaving their house was killed," he recalled.

Abu Muher, along with two other men from Fallujah who arrived in Baghdad last weekend, said American warplanes had dropped cluster bombs on a road behind their houses in Fallujah. One of the men was too afraid to permit his name to be used in this article. "My neighbors saw the bomblets," he said, "and I heard the horrible sound that only the cluster bombs make when they are dropped on us. My home was hit by their shrapnel. I was too afraid to leave my home to look for myself because of the snipers."

Abdul Aziz, the 15 year-old son of Abu Muher, stated, "I saw two of my neighbors shot by US snipers when I went outside one time. I also saw some of the small cluster bombs on the ground that were dropped by the warplanes of the Americans. Most times, we were too afraid even to look out of our windows."

'Getting aid past US snipers is impossible'
[from Jo Wilding, a human rights activist, as reported in "The Guardian," April 17, 2004].

...Everybody in Falluja has lost someone. There is not a person here who doesn't have a close friend or relative who has been killed, and a lot of them have lost several. We are hearing that the death toll is around 880 civilians, and that within the first few days 86 children were killed.

People have been under bombardment for the last eight days. A lot of people are trapped in their houses still - despite the ceasefire - without food, without water and terrified to leave. Food and medical aid is now arriving but the problem is getting the aid around the city. A lot of it is delivered to the mosque, but then getting it to the hospitals, past the American snipers, is proving to be impossible.

The main hospital apparently has been destroyed by bombing and the second largest is covered by US snipers - the Iraqis call it sniper alley. So Iraqi people are not able to get to and from the hospitals. I was working from a private clinic that had been turned into a hospital, and there was also one other improvised hospital in a car garage.

Nobody could give us a figure for injuries but there was an enormous stream of people going to this clinic, this makeshift facility. It comes in bursts. There is a lull in fighting and then more people start coming into the clinic. We saw two kids arriving with their grandmother, they had all been wounded by gunfire, they said by American snipers, while they were trying to leave their house to flee to Baghdad.

An elderly woman with a wound to the head was still carrying the white flag she had been holding when she was shot. They were all saying it was American snipers shooting - and we know that the US is using armed marines on rooftops to hold the parts of city they are controlling.

The times I have been shot at - once in an ambulance and once on foot trying to deliver medical supplies - it was US snipers in both cases. It is so unacceptable to stop medical aid getting through. They could have just asked to search us.

We saw mainly bullet wounds for the majority of civilians. Families are getting injured when they try to leave the house, trying to escape for Baghdad. A bullet goes astray or it gets them in their house. Then a lot of people are injured from shelling. They get hit by shrapnel that gets into the house.

'US destroying Falluja homes'
[Aljazeera news service, April 21st, 2004]

Ferocious fighting in the Iraqi town of Falluja has grown so intense that US occupation forces have begun destroying buildings and homes.

Aljazeera's correspondent in Falluja, Abd Al-Adhim Muhammad, said exchange of fire in the Golan quarter grew so fierce that troops had to call in helicopter support on Wednesday.... Muhammad said he personally witnessed two US air gunships destroy four homes in al-Mutasim quarter, adding many resistance fighters were now taking cover in the ruined buildings....