Emails from the International Anti-War Movement and from People in Iraq
[The Pilgrim] Fallujah - Shots in my direction!
From: Donna Mulhearn
April 21, 2004
On arrival in Fallujah we drove through the deserted streets straight to the clinic where our friends had helped out a few days before.
It was a small neighbourhood clinic that had been transformed into a makeshift hospital after the main hospital in Fallujah was bombed and closed by the US military.
The staff adapted admirably to the influx of wounded that were continually delivered in the backs of cars, vans and pick-ups - extra beds were wheeled in and cans of soft drink were emptied from the 'coke' machine so it could be used to cool bags of blood.
But the clinic had no disinfectant, no anaesthetic, and other vital equipment required for the type of surgery the horrific wounds demanded. And as a form of collective punishment all electricity to Falluja had been cut for days. The clinic had a generator, but when the petrol ran out the Doctors had to continue surgery using the glow from cigarette lighters, candles and torches.
We spoke to the Doctors - they were exhausted, and looked defeated as they told us the stories of their recent cases - a ten-year-old boy with a bullet wound to the head, a grandmother with an abdominal bullet wound - both the victims of U.S snipers, young men with severe burns, limbs blown off and so on. But each time a new patient arrived the Doctors quickly got up, put on a new set of surgical gloves and got to work.
Many had worked for 24 hours straight, others surviving on only a few hours sleep for days at a time. They didn't complain. They are the heroes of Fallujah.
We talked about how we could help. In the last mission a few days earlier, our friends had been successful in negotiating with soldiers in getting wounded people off the street and evacuating families from areas of cross-fire.
The Doctors asked if we could accompany an ambulance packed with food and medical supplies across town to a hospital that had been cut off. It was in the US controlled section of the town so it was not able to receive aid because of constant sniper fire.
The Doctors figured our foreign nationality could make a difference in negotiating the safe passage of the ambulance with the soldiers.
It might seem a strange and unnecessary mission to help an ambulance drive from one place to another - anywhere else in the world it's a basic thing, but this is Fallujah and this is war and nothing is as it should be, despite guarantees laid out in the Geneva Convention.
The last time an ambulance went to this part of town it was shot at by US troops. I know this because two of my friends were in the ambulance at the time, trying to reach a pregnant woman who had gone into pre-mature labor. They didn't reach her, but the bullet holes in the ambulance are a testament to the fact they tried.
So we packed the ambulance with supplies and got in the back
With me were three other foreigners: Jo, Dave and Beth - two British, an American and an Aussie, a good representation of young people from the "Coalition of the Willing" trying to counter-balance the military intervention of our countries with loving intervention. We donned bright blue surgical gowns and held our passports in our hands. A couple of medical staff were with us, as well as the drivers in the front.
We drove slowly through the parts of Fallujah controlled by Iraqi fighters then stopped in a side-street that faced a main road. We could not go any further because the main road was under watch and control of US snipers. They had developed a habit of shooting at anything that moved.
So we parked the ambulance in the side street and the four of us got out with the task of approaching the American soldiers, communicating with them and getting permission for the ambulance to continue to the hospital.
The area was completely quiet. The silence was unnerving.
We prepared the loudspeaker, put our hands in the air and held our passports high. Before we ventured onto the main road we called out a message from the side street.
"Hello? American soldiers! We are a group of international aid workers. We are unarmed. We are asking permission to transport an ambulance full of medical supplies to the hospital. Can you hear us?"
The reply was just a chilling silence.
We repeated the message. Silence again.
We looked at each other. Perhaps the soldiers were too far away to hear us? We had to walk onto the main road and take the risk that we would be clearly visible as unarmed civilians, and approach the soldiers with our hands in the air.
I took a deep breathe and for a split-second thought that this was probably the most dangerous thing I had ever done in my life.
As I exhaled, my heart gave me strength: I looked at the others and could tell we were all thinking the same thing: "If I don't do this, then who will?" Their courage inspired me as we all stepped out on the road together.
We walked slowly with our arms raised in the air. My eyes scanned the tops of the buildings for snipers. We didn't know where they were set up so we walked in the direction of the hospital.
We repeated the message over and over again on the loudspeaker, in the silence it would have been heard for hundreds of metres. It echoed eerily throughout the neighbourhood.
I turned my head briefly and just in time. In the distance I saw two white flashes, then the loud bang of gunshots and the ugly realisation that they were shooting into our backs.
It all happened so fast: ducking, hearing the whizz of the bullets above our heads, diving for cover off the side of the road against a wall.
We huddled there for a moment behind a bush, then someone cried: "Let's go". We crawled along the ground, at one stage I was walking low with my back hunched. In the scramble I fell. My hands broke my fall onto sharp gravel on the rough ground. I felt the sting of pain and could see the blood, but I had no time to stop and check what happened.
We ended up in someone's back yard then made our way back to the ambulances by jumping fences and going through gates.
My hands were covered with blood, my left foot cut and my passport was stained red, leaving an ever-constant reminder of the episode.
We re-grouped, but we didn't want to give up. Now we knew where the soldiers were, we could walk towards them. We decided to go out again.
Same drill: we called out the message first, then stepped out onto the road, this time facing the direction the gunfire had come from.
"Hello! American soldiers. We are foreign aid workers- British, Australian, American. We are not armed. We are asking permission to transport an ambulance on this road."
My injured hand was shaking as I held my passport now damp with my blood. I tried to work out what I was feeling: fear, anger, determination. I still don't know.
We had only repeated the message twice and walked a few metres when our answer came.
Two more bullets. By this stage I think I entered a state of shock. I had been shot at, not once, but twice by American soldiers after politely asking permission to transport aid to a hospital.
I guess the answer was 'No'.
Jo got angry. We all did. We stepped back to the corner but Jo continued on the loud speaker.
'Do you know it is against the Geneva Convention to fire at unarmed civilians and at ambulances?" she cried.
"How would you feel if your sister was trapped in a hospital under siege without food or water?"
We took the loudspeaker from her.
"May your trigger finger be plagued with warts," she continued under her breathe.
We bundled in the back of the ambulance. It was a handy place to be with deep cuts and grazes on my hand. I bowed my head as someone tended to my wounds.
We headed back to the clinic. My head was spinning. I felt angry, I felt frustrated, my hands were aching. But strangely enough my spirit was in-tact. I had just walked with my hands in the air like a vulnerable lamb into the face of armed soldiers, yet this non-violent action and my complete and utter faith that the 'rightness' of the mission would protect me had been immensely empowering.
We didn't deliver the supplies, just a clear message to the military:
"We are not afraid. We will not be intimidated by your weapons.
"If we have to confront your violence to help people who are suffering then we will. We will do it without using violence.
"We will keep trying."
PS: More about my Fallujah experience in the next e-mail.
PPS: Some people have asked: "how can you be sure it was American soldiers who shot at you?". The answer is that the area we were in was under the control of US soldiers for at least five days. Iraqi fighters did not have had access to the area the shots came from.
PPPS: Thanks to everyone who has sent me messages of support and letters to Howard and Downer. Sorry if other people cannot get e-mails through to me - if you're frustrated, try this address:…
PPPS: "We will match your capacity to inflict suffering with our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with our soul-force." Dr Martin Luther King Jnr
The Road to Fallujah
from Donna Mulhearn
Apr 20, 2004--Fallujah is a bustling city of 350,000 people. Bigger than Newcastle, smaller than Sydney. Shops, small industries, markets, mosques - ordinary people going about life.
The road to Fallujah is one of the main highways west from Baghdad, so the town receives a lot of through traffic from cars, buses and trucks doing the trip from Baghdad to Jordan.
So driving towards Fallujah on Tuesday on a highway that was empty of any other vehicles felt eerie to say the least.
We soon realised why. An American military checkpoint was blocking the highway and not allowing most cars through.
We approached the checkpoint with caution - it was an intimidating sight with massive concrete blocks placed across the road, a collection of tanks, both on the road itself and up on an overhead bridge and heavily armed soldiers pointing guns in every direction, including ours.
The four cars ahead of us were thoroughly searched, refused permission to pass and then turned away. I noticed the cars contained Iraqi people, perhaps they were from Fallujah and wanted to go and check on relatives, perhaps they were carrying food, water and medicines in their cars to deliver to the besieged town, perhaps they were just Iraqis who wanted to travel freely in their country?
When the head American soldier saw us he looked relieved and broke out into a smile. "Hey, some foreigners, where ya'll from?"
One of our group Joe, a British newspaper reporter, told him we were journalists from the BBC going to Fallujah to report on the situation there.
"Yeh, I've seen you on the television haven't I," the young soldier, Sargeant Trapner, asked Joe excitedly.
"Yeh," the soldier answered to himself with a big grin. "I see you all the time."
Joe, who has never worked for the BBC or been on television tried to disguise his shock from his enthusiastic new 'fan'. He turned away, trying to act humble and didn't answer the question. We all tried to hide our giggles - this soldier believing he has met a famous celebrity just might get us through the checkpoint.
"This is awesome," the soldier continued. "Can I have your autograph?"
Those of us still in the car could barely keep our composure as Joe signed some scribble on a piece of paper for Sargeant Trapner.
Our 'foreigner' status meant our cars were not even searched and we were invited out to chat with the soldiers while we waited for clearance to travel the road.
"So you're going to Fallujah?"
"We've killed a whole bunch of 'em there," Sgt Trapner announced with pride.
"But the bastards are killing us too!"
"I'm jealous you're going to Fallujah where the action is," another soldier added.
"I was there for a while and killed a few of the mother-fuckers. I'd love to go back and kill some more!"
I looked away, choosing not to respond.
I realised the war has totally de-humanised these soldiers. They were boasting about killing people, who they didn't even consider to be people.
De-humanising your victim as a 'bastard' or 'mother-fucker' makes it easier to kill them and then be proud of it.
We continued to chat with the soldiers, they gave us water and they seemed sincerely happy to talk to foreigners. In almost every sentence they expressed a deep hatred towards the Iraqi people. They clearly held no respect for the people they have come to 'liberate.'
As we talked we noticed a fleet of ambulances in the distance heading towards us - white vehicles with blue flashing lights, red crescents on the side and 'Ambulance' written in English and Arabic across the top.
The sight was immensely encouraging for me. Fallujah desperately needed these ambulances to get through.
But then my heart sank. The ambulances suddenly stopped on the road about 200 metres away. They had obviously seen the checkpoint and were assessing the situation.
After a few minutes, one by one the ambulances turned around and headed back to Baghdad - obviously too frightened at what trouble might occur at the checkpoint or perhaps believing they would not be allowed through.
"Good, we don't want anymore of those bastards getting through," a soldier said as he watched the ambulances turn away.
I took a deep breathe, my eyes stinging with tears as I watched the blue lights fade into the distance. I prayed they would find another road to Fallujah.
But there was another car brave enough to approach the checkpoint. In the car was a Doctor, dressed in a blue medical gown and surgical gloves on his hands, he looked as if he'd come straight from one hospital ward and was ready to walk right into the next one and get to work. His determined face told me he would not take 'no' for an answer if refused at the checkpoint.
After we lobbied on his behalf, the soldiers agreed to let him pass through with us.
Past the checkpoint the highway was still deserted except for the evidence of war all around us. The burnt out shells of trucks and cars littered the sides of the roads. Various debris from missiles and mortars were scattered everywhere. There had been heavy fighting here.
At one point our driver chose to exit the highway and approach Falluja through the farmlands. We weaved through the villages, occasionally hearing gunshots and missile fire in the distance. On the outskirts of Fallujah we ran into a large American convoy of tanks and humvees. They were trying to 'secure' an area, so we could not continue any further until they'd finish their 'work.'
They eventually left, leaving just one last stretch of road for us to enter Falluja. It was a slow, nervous drive on that dusty road, weaving in and out of concrete blocks and razor wire. We didn't know who controlled the area, and there could have been snipers waiting to shoot at unidentified vehicles.
But finally we made it safely into Fallujah. It was mid-afternoon but the streets were deserted. It felt like a ghost town. Obviously many Fallujans had fled the violence and left, becoming refugees in their own country. Others were hiding in their homes too afraid to come out.
The town was under siege. By this stage it was estimated about 700 people had been killed defending the town from the collective punishment brutally inflicted on every man, woman and child, regardless of whether they were involved in the death of four US armed security guards a week before.
It was a terrible crime that police enquiries and a criminal investigation could have quickly dealt with - uncovering the guilty parties and enforcing appropriate criminal justice.
To bomb an entire city, causing so much death that it had to use its football fields as graveyards, seemed a rather rash over-reaction.
Driving through the empty streets of Falluja I felt the stench of death in the air. I could feel the terror of the families locked behind the closed doors.
I felt sick.
PS: More about my time in Fallujah in next e-mail.
PPS: Could Australians please tell Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Prime Minister John Howard to put a sock in it! Downer, in particular has been very nasty, accusing me of all sorts of things. He has no idea why I'm here and what I've been doing. If you want to help educate him you can e-mail his office on: firstname.lastname@example.org
PPPS: "When you take away the humanity of another, you kill your own humanity. You attack your own soul because it is standing in the way. Hold on to your humanity." Stan Goff US Army (Retired) in an open letter to GIs in Iraq.
Americans Slaughtering Civilians in Falluja
By Dahr Jamail
13 Apr 2004
I knew there was very little media coverage in Falluja, and the entire city had been sealed and was suffering from collective punishment in the form of no water or electricity for several days now. With only two journalists there that I'd read and heard reports from, I felt pulled to go and witness the atrocities that were surely being committed.
With the help of some friends, we joined a small group of internationals to ride a large bus there carrying a load of humanitarian supplies, and with the hopes of bringing some of the wounded out prior to the next American onslaught, which was due to kick off at any time now.
Even leaving Baghdad now is dangerous. The military has shut down the main highway between here and Jordan. The highway, even while just outside Baghdad, is desolate and littered with destroyed fuel tanker trucks -- their smoldering shells littered the highway. We rolled past a large M-1 Tank that was still burning under an overpass which had just been hit by the resistance.
At the first U.S. checkpoint the soldiers said they'd been there for 30 hours straight. After being searched, we continued along bumpy dirt roads, winding our way through parts of Abu Ghraib, steadily but slowly making our way towards besieged Falluja. While we were passing one of the small homes in Abu Ghraib, a small child yelled at the bus, "We will be mujahedeen until we die!"
We slowly worked our way back onto the highway. It was strewn with smoking fuel tankers, destroyed military tanks and armored personnel carriers, and a lorry that had been hit that was currently being looted by a nearby village, people running to and from the highway carrying away boxes. It was a scene of pure devastation, with barely any other cars on the road.
Once we turned off the highway, which the U.S. was perilously holding onto, there was no U.S. military presence visible at all as we were in mujahedeen-controlled territory. Our bus wound its way through farm roads, and each time we passed someone they would yell, "God bless you for going to Falluja!" Everyone we passed was flashing us the victory sign, waving, and giving the thumbs-up.
As we neared Falluja, there were groups of children on the sides of the road handing out water and bread to people coming into Falluja. They began literally throwing stacks of flat bread into the bus. The fellowship and community spirit was unbelievable. Everyone was yelling for us, cheering us on, groups speckled along the road.
As we neared Falluja a huge mushroom caused by a large U.S. bomb rose from the city. So much for the cease fire.
The closer we got to the city, the more mujahedeen checkpoints we passed -- at one, men with kefir around their faces holding Kalashnikovs began shooting their guns in the air, showing their eagerness to fight.
The city itself was virtually empty, aside from groups of mujahedeen standing on every other street corner. It was a city at war. We rolled towards the one small clinic where we were to deliver our medical supplies from INTERSOS, an Italian NGO. The small clinic is managed by Mr. Maki Al-Nazzal, who was hired just 4 days ago to do so. He is not a doctor.
He hadn't slept much, along with all of the doctors at the small clinic. It started with just three doctors, but since the Americans bombed one of the hospitals, and were currently sniping people as they attempted to enter/exit the main hospital, effectively there were only 2 small clinics treating all of Falluja. The other has been set up in a car garage.
As I was there, an endless stream of women and children who'd been sniped by the Americans were being raced into the dirty clinic, the cars speeding over the curb out front as their wailing family members carried them in.
One woman and small child had been shot through the neck -- the woman was making breathy gurgling noises as the doctors frantically worked on her amongst her muffled moaning.
The small child, his eyes glazed and staring into space, continually vomited as the doctors raced to save his life.
After 30 minutes, it appeared as though neither of them would survive.
One victim of American aggression after another was brought into the clinic, nearly all of them women and children.
This scene continued, off and on, into the night as the sniping continued.
As evening approached the nearby mosque loudspeaker announced that the mujehadeen had completely destroyed a U.S. convoy. Gunfire filled the streets, along with jubilant yelling. As the mosque began blaring prayers, the determination and confidence of the area was palpable.
One small boy of 11, his face covered by a kefir and toting around a Kalashnikov that was nearly as big as he was, patrolled areas around the clinic, making sure they were secure. He was confident and very eager for battle. I wondered how the U.S. soldiers would feel about fighting an 11 year-old child? For the next day, on the way out of Falluja, I saw several groups of children fighting as mujahedeen.
After we delivered the aid, three of my friends agreed to ride out on the one functioning ambulance for the clinic to retrieve the wounded. Although the ambulance already had three bullet holes from a U.S. sniper through the front windshield on the driver's side, having westerners on board was the only hope that soldiers would allow them to retrieve more wounded Iraqis.
The previous driver was wounded when one of the sniper's shots grazed his head.
Bombs were heard sporadically exploding around the city, along with random gunfire.
It grew dark, so we ended up spending the night with one of the local men who had filmed the atrocities. He showed us footage of a dead baby who he claimed was torn from his mother's chest by Marines. Other horrendous footage of slain Iraqis was shown to us as well.
My entire time in Falluja there was the constant buzzing of military drones.
As we walked through the empty streets towards the house where we would sleep, a plane flew over us and dropped several flares. We ran for a nearby wall to hunker down, afraid it was dropping cluster bombs. There had been reports of this, as two of the last victims that arrived at the clinic were reported by the locals to have been hit by cluster bombs -- they were horribly burned and their bodies shredded.
It was a long night-between being sick from drinking unfiltered water and the nagging concern of the full invasion beginning, I didn't sleep. Each time I would begin to slip into sleep, a jet would fly over and I wondered if the full scale bombing would commence. Meanwhile, the drones continued to buzz throughout Falluja.
The next morning we walked back to the clinic, and the mujahedeen in the area were extremely edgy, expecting the invasion anytime. They were taking up positions to fight. One of my friends who'd done another ambulance run to collect two bodies said that a Marine she encountered had told them to leave, because the military was about to use air support to begin 'clearing the city.' One of the bodies they brought to the clinic was that of an old man who was shot by a sniper outside of his home, while his wife and children sat wailing inside.
The family couldn't reach his body, for fear of being sniped by the Americans themselves. His stiff body was carried into the clinic with flies swarming above it.
The already insane situation continued to degrade, and by the time the wounded from the clinic were loaded onto our bus and we prepared to leave, everyone felt the invasion was looming near. American bombs continued to fall not far from us, and sporadic gunfire continued. Jets were circling the outskirts of the city.
We drove out, past loads of mujahedeen at their posts along the streets. In a long line of vehicles loaded with families, we slowly crept out of the embattled city, passing several military vehicles on the outskirts town.
When we took a wrong turn at one point and tried to go down a road controlled by a different group of mujeheen, we were promptly surrounded by men cocking their weapons and aiming them at us. The doctors and patients on board explained to them we were coming from Falluja and on a humanitarian aid mission, so they let us go.
The trip back to Baghdad was slow, but relatively uneventful. We passed several more smoking shells of vehicles destroyed by the freedom fighters; more fuel tankers, more military vehicles destroyed.
What I can report from Falluja is that there is no ceasefire, and apparently there never was. Iraqi women and children are being shot by American snipers. Over 600 Iraqis have now been killed by American aggression, and the residents have turned two football fields into graveyards. Ambulances are being shot by the Americans. And now they are preparing to launch a full-scale invasion of the city.
All of which is occurring under the guise of catching the people who killed the four Blackwater Security personnel and hung two of their bodies from a bridge.
Dahr Jamail is Baghdad correspondent for The NewStandard. He is an Alaskan devoted to covering the untold stories from occupied Iraq. You can help Dahr continue his crucial work in Iraq by making donations. For more information or to donate to Dahr, visit http://newstandardnews.net/iraqdispatches .
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Resistance Report for events of Monday, 12 April 2004.
Translated and/or compiled by Muhammad Abu Nasr, member, editorial board, the Free Arab Voice. http://www.freearabvoice.org
Monday, 12 April 2004.
Al-Fallujah: Resistance threatens to resume hostilities.
Iraqi Resistance fighters in besieged al-Fallujah threatened to resume hostilities at 4:00pm local time and to carry out a broad attack on the Americans if they do not remove the snipers who have been firing at people in the city. An Agence France Presse (AFP) reporter who attended a meeting of Resistance leaders said that a Shaykh told the meeting that 60 people in al-Fallujah had been gunned down by American snipers since the cease fire went into effect on Sunday morning. A warning of the imminent resumption of hostilities was also announced over loudspeakers in the city.
Meanwhile, however, relative calm prevails in the city as it entered its second day of cease fire as word came of the extension of the cease fire until Monday evening.
There were reports, however, of clashes taking place on Monday morning before dawn.
in al-Fallujah reported that the sticking point in the on-going negotiations
between the Iraqi Resistance and the American aggressors through intermediaries
is: who will be responsible for security in al-Fallujah after the
Al-Jazeera's correspondent reports on the authority of eyewitnesses that some units of the occupation forces have begun to withdraw from their current positions within al-Fallujah and that columns of tanks were seen withdrawing from their positions.
Sources among the first aid teams that succeeded in getting into al- Fallujah during the cease fire report that bodies of the dead are strewn about the streets and that American snipers shoot at ambulances in the city. Meanwhile, US aggressor troops seek to prevent aid and medical supplies from getting into the besieged city.
Iraqi Resistance downs
Iraqi Resistance fighters shot
The commander of US aggressor forces in Iraq, General Ricardo Sanchez, acknowledged on Monday that two American soldiers and seven employees of a subsidiary of Halliburton, a company associated with US Vice President Dick Cheney, had been listed as "missing" in Iraq.
Sanchez also acknowledged that supporters of Shi`ite religious leader still control the city of an-Najaf and part of Karbala'. This statement contradicted claims made earlier that the puppet police had regained control over an-Najaf after an agreement between Muqtada as- Sadr's forces and the occupation had been reached.
Sanchez, speaking at a press conference with US Commander General John Abizaid, said, on the contrary, that a mission of the US forces now is "to kill or arrest Muqtada as-Sadr. This is our task."
One Romanian mercenary killed, another injured in Resistance attack Sunday.
The Romanian Foreign Ministry
announced on Monday that a Romanian "civilian employee"
of a security company was killed and another wounded on Sunday in
US claims: 6 Americans killed in two days.
The American statement also said that an American belonging to the 1st Infantry was killed when his tank came under rocket-propelled grenade attack near Tikrit on 9 April, while three Marine invaders were killed in fighting "west of Baghdad" [an obvious reference to al- Fallujah, a name which the Americans apparently are now reluctant to pronounce!] on 11 April.
News reports coming out of the city of al-Fallujah on Monday concerning the latest developments in the negotiations being carried on through intermediaries between the Resistance and the US aggressors indicate that the US occupation forces have abandoned all their conditions for a withdrawal from al-Fallujah and are merely hoping now to be able to leave the city without further clashes with the Iraqi Resistance.
in the city reported on the authority of participants in the talks
that the American side had given up all the conditions that it had
earlier laid down for a withdrawal from al- Fallujah. The
Al-Jazeera reports that the talks are proceeding towards a solution and that there is one issue that still remains a bone of contention, namely who will be responsible for security in the city. The Resistance and local people insist that security in al-Fallujah must be maintained by natives of the city who are members of the Iraqi police and civil defense forces and who would be headed by local person of recognized good character who enjoys the trust of the residents and the Resistance fighters.
Resistance kills one American soldier near Samarra' Sunday.
Iraqi Resistance forces killed one American aggressor soldier and wounded four others in an attack near Samarra', north of Baghdad on Sunday, according to a report carried by al-Jazeera.
Three blasts shake US occupation headquarters in Baghdad on Monday morning.
Three powerful explosions shook
Baghdad on Monday morning from within the compound of the
Iraqi Resistance attacks
Iraqi Resistance fighters attacked
and burned a truck carrying provisions for the
Resistance fighters in al-Latifiyah
district in Baghdad attacked an American military column made up of
trucks carrying armored personnel carriers and other military equipment.
The Resistance attack left the trucks and their contents burning.
One report stated that ten American tanks were destroyed in the attack
and those inside killed. Witnesses said that three persons were killed
in the Resistance attack as others chanted slogans in support of Jaysh
al-Mahdi, the militia that backs Shi`ite Religious leader Muqtada
as-Sadr. The attack was interpreted as retaliation for threats by
the Americans to break up Jaysh al-Mahdi and for the behavior of the
Eyewitnesses reported on Monday afternoon that US aggressor forces had massed tanks and armored personnel carriers in a ring around al- Mustansiriyah University in Baghdad on Monday and issued a warning to armed students on the campus to surrender. Reuters reported that it is believed that the armed students are supporters of Shi`ite political parties.
US aggressor troops imposed a curfew on the population of Wasit Province near Baghdad, including the puppet police of the city of al- Kut between 10:00pm and 6:00am.
How do you scare an American soldier? Just say "al-Fallujah!"
Agence France Presse (AFP) reported that word has spread rapidly in Baghdad that "if you want to scare an American soldier, just shout `al-Falluja!' at him as he passes."
Many residents of Baghdad recall how one year ago beating the Americans, equipped as they are with the most modern weaponry. But everything has changed since scenes of Americans dying under Resistance gunfire have become commonplace. The epic Battle of al- Fallujah has constituted a turning point in popular perceptions.
And also in battle tactics, not only around that defiant city but throughout the country.
In al-A`zamiyah, the Sunni heart of Baghdad, a security officer with the venerable Abu Hanifah mosque, who asked to remain anonymous, said that "in the past usually three or four Resistance fighters would attack tanks or Humvees at under cover of darkness and then flee. But the attack on US aggressors in al-A`zamiyah this week was organized. Two hundred fighters massed in broad daylight in the street and fired on the puppet police station with the purpose of forcing the Americans to come out and do battle. And the battle then ensued, face-to-face."
US General: 70 American and satellite troops killed in 12 days.
US deputy commander of operations in Iraq, Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt claimed on Monday that 70 American and satellite troops had been killed in battles with the Iraqi Resistance since the start of April - i.e., in a period of 12 days. At a Baghdad press conference he also claimed that the aggressor forces had martyred "ten times" that number, i.e., 700 Iraqis during the same period. He said, however, that assessing the extent of civilian casualties in blockaded al-Fallujah was more difficult, though medical sources there had said that 600 had been killed in the American shelling and bombing.
Kimmitt sought to justify the bombing and shelling of civilian districts of al-Fallujah by saying that they "had no other choice."
Kimmitt acknowledged that Iraqi Resistance operations had increased in number, now up to some 70 attacks per day.
"The invaders were smashed on the walls of al-Fallujah," - Resistance commander says.
A leader of the Iraq Liberation Front in al-Fallujah told the newspaper Dar al-Khalij on Sunday that "the Iraqi Resistance had taught the American forces a lesson they would never forget."
"Abu al-Khattab" told the newspaper that "we are fighting for the liberation of the homeland and to rescue the City of Mosques and Minarets, al-Fallujah, to prevent their desecration by the dwarfs who follow the criminal Bush." Abu al-Khattab said, "we fought for Islam and Arab honor and we taught Bush's dwarfs a lesson they will never ever forget. God was with us in this jihadi effort because our path is that of one of the two good things: either liberation or martyrdom. We wanted to demonstrate to the world that we are the sons and daughters of a great civilization, the guardians of a homeland whose history goes back more than 7,000 years before Christ."
Abu al-Khattab told the newspaper, "In spite of the aggressors' barbarity the mujahideen were like lions driving out Bush's dwarfs, killing hundreds, wounding hundreds, and setting hundreds of their vehicles ablaze." He said that the Resistance holds numerous American prisoners but did not specify their exact number.
"The invaders were smashed on the walls of al-Fallujah, and, God willing, they will be smashed on the walls of Baghdad at the hands of the Mujahideen of Iraq," Abu al-Khattab said in conclusion.
Two puppet policemen killed, two wounded in Resistance bombing in Ba`qubah.
A bomb planted by the Iraqi Resistance forces killed two puppet policemen and wounded two others when it blew up near their squad car on Monday in Ba`qubah, according to al-Jazeera TV.
"Iraqi" puppet official threatens, fulminates against al-Jazeera and al-`Arabiyah TV.
The so-called National Security Adviser in the American-run Iraqi puppet government, Muwaffaq ar-Rabi`i, came out on Monday with threats against the Arab satellite TV stations al-Jazeera and al- `Arabiyah. The Iraqi bureaux of the two popular Arab stations would be closed down, ar-Rabi`i said, "if they persist in inciting violence and rebellion."
Seven Chinese kidnapped, then released.
11 Russians reported kidnapped in Baghdad.
A Russian source quoted by al-Jazeera TV reported late on Monday that 11 Russians were kidnapped from Baghdad. From Moscow al-Jazeera reported that 11 Russians working with a Russian engineering firm in Baghdad had been kidnapped. Further information was not immediately available.
UPDATE ON FALLUJA 12/4/04 -
From Ewa Jasiewicz.
No Ceasefire, Massive Assault Still Expected, Eyewitness Interview - 12/4/04
I spoke again to my friend in Baghdad who accompanied a group of internationals including Jo Wilding (www.circus2iraq.org) Dahr Jamail (independent journalist - put his name into google.com and be wowed) and Leigh Gordon (Journalist - Tribune and Mail on Sunday) in a bus into Falluja yesterday. They managed to evacuate 16 injured people in total, including one badly burned and two seriously injured men who were treated at the Italian Red Cross field hospital in Baghdad. The group managed to walk through the streets to find the injured - mostly in hospitals without any supplies or treatment available to help them - waving their arms and shouting to soldiers and identifying themselves as civilians and Americans (in the case of some). A number of the group including Jo Wilding were ferrying out the injured using an ambulance from a local Falluja clinic when it was fired upon by US snipers, at least six times, nearly killing the driver and passenger in the front who both managed to duck in time to save their skulls. The bullets perforated the area directly behind their heads. Dust swirling around the bus and obfuscating it from view was attributed by my friend to be the reason that snipers did not get a direct hit immediately. The ambulance is now destroyed.
Today in Falluja there were two major attacks by the US forces. Homes have been shelled by F16 jets and Apache helicopters. An entire family in the Jullan area was killed.
Interview with friend who's been in Falluja:
What's been going on?
There was fighting all last night and today. Bombing raids happened on Falluja last night. We expect it again tonight.
How is the resistance? Have they split over the ceasefire?
There is no ceasefire. And there is no split. The resistance is strong, holding out, and fighting hard. The fighting is continuing because the Americans are continuing, they keep attacking. The Iraqi soldiers have refused to fight but the Peshmerga (Kurdish fighters) are now fighting alongside) the Americans.
Do you know how many? No. Nobody knows.
How did people in Falluja respond to members of the Governing Council coming in?
What? The GC came in? Noone from the Governing Council came in. Someone from the Islamic Party came but GC?? No way. They are mostly hated here.
What is it like for ordinary people in Falluja, can you walk around in the street?
There is a small area you can walk around in, but otherwise its just the backroads. And noone is entering now, everybody is leaving, all the injured are leaving. But there are families still held inside bombed houses - if they try to leave the US will shoot at them. The US soldiers are patrolling the streets, they're taking over homes and taking up sniper positions.
Are they occupying homes like the Israeli Occupation Forces do in Palestine? Exactly
(Ewa - who spent much time in Occupied Palestin): My bit - In Palestine, in the towns and refugee camps, soldiers, sometimes as many as 15, will forcibly enter a house, banish the family living there into one room where they must stay and ask the permission of soldiers to go to bring food from the kitchen or to go to the toilet. The family will not have access to other rooms in the house whilst it is being used as a temporary makeshift military base. Soldiers can take up sniper positions and kill from their windows, they can bring in prisoners, interrogate and torture as they like, and in the case of Palestine, Israeli soldiers have been known to, and I have seen the aftermath of this with my own eyes, smash up furniture, defecate in corners, wipe faeces onto walls, urinate upon and trash clothing, steal food, money and jewellry, tear up photographs and generally wreck homes. In Jenin camp, soldiers occupied some homes for up to 16 days, during which noone could leave the house at all, not even for a breath of fresh air. Children traumatised by having their homes occupied and used as military bases and prisons would be pale, withdrawn, silent and bereaved by their experience after soldiers had left. Some homes, due to their locations or height, would be repeatedly occupied by soldiers, terrorising families on a regular basis.The Israeli government uses recycled old British Mandate Emergency Defence laws used by the British occupying forces in 1936 to put down the 6 month general strike and intifada waged against them by Palestinians. The US occupation has from its inception violated international law- Geneva Conventions and Hague Regulations)
So whats next?
Tomorrow, me and Leigh will go in, using my car. The ambulance is destroyed, they tried to kill us, they shot at our heads yesterday. Jo (Wilding) was nearly shot. Today we have been evacuating people with my car and tomorrow is the same, but just me and Leigh. Its too dangerous to try with the bus again. People think they will get killed if they try. We will be taking in medical supplies.
How many hospitals are there in Falluja? Three remain, one has been damaged to much to be used.
What medical supplies will you be taking in? Everything. The hospitals have nothing.
But like what? Everything, bandages, blood, stitches, drip-bags, everything we can. Tomorrow will be much much worse. We expect the big attack. We are going to evacuate some families too, from the Al Haay al Askereeya (The Military Area). They've had no food or water fro three days now. The Americans have cut the water supply. The place is now under 24 hour siege.
(Yesterday I spoke to Paola Gaspiroli and she said that fleeing women and children who had been stuck in the dessert have found refuge in nearby villages and people have been taking them in and looking after them. She also confirmed that the group of internationals which had accompanied the injured the other day would probably not be going in again as the group felt that the likelyhood of them being killed by US soldiers was incredibly high).
Look, can you not call the CPA and let them know that you're coming, explain, that you'll be driving around in your car, evacuating the injured??.
It won't make a difference. They don't care. But we are going in anyway.
More information to come soon
LONDON please have a look at www.iraqprocurement.com - A major conference is being held in London, sponsored by Shell, from April 26-28th of this month on the privatisation of Iraq with many corporate reps and reps from the Governing Council and Occupation Authority - (Citizens arrest anyone?)attending. Counter demonstrations and actions are being planned by a variety of different peace, justice and anti-militarisation groups, plus a special focus on workers rights in occupied Iraq as well as a counter-conference website. full details tba. Have a look and start thinking about action against this.
FROM JOAN, IN OZ:
This isn't RITA. It's a pity the soldiers aren't refusing to do what demanded of them. The allied leaders should be on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Remember half the Iraq population is under 16 due to the first Gulf War and uranium poisoning. Also remember that the Iraq hospitals have very little medicine or equipment. Feel shame as I do, the same as many Germans did about Hitler's exploits. We must bear some responsibility for the actions of our governments. I hope you get the pictures included.
MAX: My computer cannot bing the pix. Try download them directly
Highway to hell: The road to Falluja by Odai Sirri in Garma Saturday 10 April 2004
US marines hunt for Iraqi rebels on the outskirts of Falluja
As we drive through the back roads on the way to Falluja, US jets are pounding the area around the tiny village of Garma.
The sight of US reinforcements flying into the area and the continuous sound of explosions and gunfire proves too much for my driver. He pulls into the village, unwilling to go any further.
Half way between Baghdad and Falluja, Garma is well placed to witness the US bombardment of the latter, where the steadily rising toll of dead Iraqis from the past week's fighting has passed 600. At least 1000 have been reported wounded.
With the main routes into the town blocked or too dangerous, Garma, just 15 minutes from Falluja,, has become a stepping stone for resistance fighters on their way to help their besieged compatriots.
Witnesses report seeing scores of fighters passing through Garma daily.
A lorry of what appear to be 15 tribesmen stops next to us. But the tribesmen, each man's face covered by an aqal (the Iraqi headscarf), are from Baghdad.
Stopping to rest at a tea shop before entering the besieged town, Ahmad, a 25-year-old with the worn face of a battle-hardened warrior, tells me of his intentions.
"We're going to assist our brothers in Falluja and try to prevent the massacre of Iraqis."
But Ahmad and his colleagues will have their work cut out for them. Breaking news from Aljazeera on a nearby television shows fresh images from Falluja: scores of dead, including many children. The town has turned into a bloodbath.
The images prove too much for Ahmad; he drops his face into his hands and breaks down. As he walks away, I call an Aljazeera cameraman in Falluja to check on his safety.
Falluja's hospitals are overflowing with dead and wounded
My colleague's voice is panic-stricken as he describes the scene, echoing the pictures that have shocked Ahmad. "There are images we can't show because it's just too gruesome. I have never seen anything like this before," he says.
"There are bodies everywhere, and people can't go out to retrieve them because they're too afraid of being blown away themselves.
"I can't believe the number of children here, we were at the hospital and it's full of dead and wounded kids."
"The ones that aren't dead have lost limbs and are wailing in pain, begging for their parents. What parents?" he screams. "I don't have the heart to tell them that their parents are in pieces.
"Back at our office the Americans are shooting at us. I walk out of the bathroom and a laser is pointed at my chest," he says, referring to US sharpshooters in the area.
"We 'd just bought cigarettes from a store across the street; no more than ten minutes later it was bombed."
Tired of fighting
Ahmad returns and orders another cup of tea. But our conversation shifts focus as he asks about my life growing up in Canada. He looks at me curiously and asks my age.
"You see? We're the same age, but look at my face, I look many years older than you," he says, his voice quivering with emotion.
Deadly fate: An insurgent lies dead in the battle-ravaged town
"We Iraqis are tired of all this fighting, why doesn't the US just leave us alone? What did we ever do to them?"
"You know what the funny thing about this entire mess is? If Saddam were to come back right now, all this fighting would stop in two hours, isn't that right Ali?"
Ahmad and his companion begin laughing.The laughter ends as more images of the Falluja scene appear on TV.
"The US will never leave Iraq," he says more soberly. "You know what I want to see happen in Iraq? I want to see a federal Iraq where everyone from north to south, and east to west is fairly represented. We Arabs, Sunni, Shia, and Christian; the Kurds, the Turkmen - we are all Iraqis."
But his hopes and desires seem far away as the sound of bombs and mortar shells reverberate through our cafï¿½. A few minutes later the driver of his lorry sounds the horn. Ahmad takes a final sip of his tea and says goodbye.
If the mounting toll is any indication, Ahmad will probably not make it out of Falluja alive.
Aljazeera By Odai Sirri in Garma
You can find this article at: http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/FE78FACB-0A6D-4F88-A6C1-B434857135A6.htm
From the Newstandard:
As promised earlier, we have put together a short, "hard news"-style report on Fallujah, incorporating Dahr's important first-hand information.
Please go to the site to check it out -- and if you have friends for whom Dahr's m ore personal, bias-exposed weblog entries might be a bit too much, this hard news article is the one to use to show them there is more than just the US military/embedded version of the Fallujah story. Our send-to-friend feature is a perfect way to share information and help promote our and Dahr's independent efforts. http://newstandardnews.net/content/?action=show_item&itemid=169
Dahr has been keeping in close contact with us, and assures us he is safe. As the following weblog entry depicts, the situation is getting very hairy for foreigners, even in Baghdad. Dahr will be laying low for a couple of days, but we will keep readers updated on anything important during that period.
Here, then, is Dahr's latest weblog post. (Once again we would like to note that these weblog entries, in contrast to our hard news stories, are merely proofread -- and very casually at that -- by NewStandard staff. We try to let them convey the authenticity and intimacy of Dahr's voice. Opinions and views shared in these entries are not necessarily those of TNS editors.)
No Respite from the Violence
by Dahr Jamail, The NewStandard
Web Version: http://blog.newstandardnews.net/iraqdispatches/archives/000164.html
Baghdad, April 12 -- When we returned from Falluja yesterday I felt like I could let my guard down somewhat. For in Baghdad, at least compared to Falluja, there have always been pockets of relative calm. The apartment where I'm staying is supposedly one of those.
We got news from Christian Peace Team (CPT) that most of the NGO's left in Iraq are either pulling out completely, or leaving a skeleton crew. There is also talk of supposed organizing of a UN airlift in the works to fly folks out. But at the same time, there is also talk of the airport closing due to security problems.
In addition, the road to the airport is extremely dangerous because there are many attacks there daily. The other side of the equation is even more horrendous--the main road to Amman is closed at Falluja--still passable by taking side roads around the closed highway. But we've heard reports that foreigners are being pulled from cars, shot, and left there by various militia.
I'm currently strongly considering leaving.but it is so volatile that what the safest option may be is changing on an hourly basis. For right now, I just bought some groceries and am holing up in my apartment with my friends.
A few days ago Firdos Square--where the infamous pulling down of Saddam's statue occurred after the invasion--was closed and blockaded by the American military. I stood atop my apartment listening to a speaker on a Humvee blaring instructions that anyone who approached the area would be shot on sight. This is freedom.
Apparently the U.S. is prepared to take these measures to prevent another demonstration from occurring there. We're using dark humor to lighten the extremely tense mood here-joking about what we can do if one of us is kidnapped. Jo promises to let any kidnappers know how that I just completed a humanitarian mission to Falluja. I will most certainly tell them she founded an NGO that entertains Iraqi children with a traveling circus, as well as works to aid them.
An Iraqi policeman who knows some nearby flat-mates has given a few of the folks here a ride to the internet cafï¿½ before. He just stopped in to ask if we would like a ride today. He also used the opportunity to tell us Sadr's Medhi militia is planning on targeting this area tomorrow and the next day for kidnappings. Guess what my plans are for the next couple of days? Good thing I just bought groceries. We are joking (morbidly) about hiding in the water tanks on the roof. We'll move soon most likely, we're just trying to find the best option.
But it is odd here--this area has consistently felt like the hole in the donut--the bustling street nearby is full of lights, traffic and shoppers each night, children playing in the street in the evenings.
However, even now many of the stores are closed, and traffic is notably lighter. Even many of the Iraqis themselves are afraid, for nobody really has any idea what might happen next. For this is worse than a war, due to its randomness. There are so many groups battling against the US occupation and targeting foreigners.it seems like a closer comparison than Vietnam would be Beirut.
Solutions? One thing that remains glaringly apparent today is that Falluja has become another rallying point for the resistance. While most media in the U.S. (and many other Western countries) are failing to report the Iraqi side of the story there, everyone here knows it's turned into a full-on massacre, and people are extremely angry. This and the entire debacle of how the Americans have handled the situation with Muqtada Sadr, have together brought rivers of volunteers into the already growing resistance to the occupation.
Thus, if the U.S. doesn't pull out of Falluja, the situation is only sure to worsen. God help us if/when they launch a full on incursion into the city, including increased air strikes. When will whoever is making these unbelievably stupid strategic decisions for the military here wake up?
I would also like to comment on the insane disparity I see in the reporting from CNN and some of the other mainstream media. I've watched several of them on the television, and last night CNN had the gall to say that the ceasefire was holding in Falluja, aside from some Iraqi snipers firing at the Americans there. NPR, NY Times, and several others have reporters embedded with the military there as well.
This is difficult for me to see, particularly after being there yesterday and seeing an ambulance with 3 bullet holes in the driver's side of the windshield. Seeing slain women and children, elderly, unarmed people. All killed and/or wounded by the American snipers. How can the media report this when they don't even have a correspondent in Falluja? Why are they failing so completely to report the Iraqi side of the story? How much more obvious can it be that they are only parroting the U.S. military lies concerning the situation?
So Americans are killing unarmed Iraqis in Falluja (and elsewhere) because they have the wrong colored skin. And now many Iraqi resistance fighters are responding in kind--killing or kidnapping any foreigner they find.
Several of our Iraqi friends and interpreters now have told us they have received death threats for working with us. Everyone is afraid, and more and more people are simply staying at home. Fighting rages rampantly throughout the country, aside from Kurdistan. What hope for the future do Iraqis have? All of my Iraqi friends are simply holding on day to day.
Yesterday George Bush said he knew what we were doing in Iraq was right. Mr. Bush, does this include massacring unarmed women, children and elderly in Falluja right now? When you say you believe the soldiers in Iraq are acting brilliantly, does this include the snipers shooting ambulances with blaring sirens and flashing lights? Does this include dragging the entire country into a bloody chaos that is worsening by the hour?
In the last week there have been over 600 Iraqis slain in Falluja alone, with thousands more wounded. In this same week over 62 U.S. troops killed, and most certainly hundreds more wounded.
Dahr Jamail is Baghdad correspondent for The NewStandard. He is an Alaskan devoted to covering the untold stories from occupied Iraq. You can help Dahr continue his crucial work in Iraq by making donations. For more information or to donate to Dahr, visit http://newstandardnews.net/iraqdispatches .
The Iraq Dispatches list exists to keep readers of The NewStandard updated on reports by Baghdad correspondent Dahr Jamail. To manage subscriptions, or for more information and an archive of Dahr's writings and photographs: http://newstandardnews.net/iraqdispatches
The above message is Copyright 2004 Dahr Jamail and The NewStandard. Reprinting for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited. Permission is readily granted for nonprofit purposes as long as (1) adequate credit is provided, (2) a link back to http://newstandardnews.net/iraqdispatches is prominently posted along with the text and (3) the journalist's bio at the end of the text is kept intact.
FOR A VERY PREDICTIVE BACKGROUNDER, GET/READ ROSEMARIE GILLESPIE'S INVASION OF IRAQ - SHE WAS THERE LAST TIME ROUND AND PRETTY WELL CALLED THE SHOTS (!) TO COME !
INVASION OF IRAQ - AN EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT
Wednesday, 14th April, 6pm for 6.30 HUMAN SHIELD LAUNCHES HER BOOK: INVASION OF IRAQ - AN EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT
Human shield, peace activist, and barrister Waratah Rose Gillespie relives her fears, anguish and anger as a human shield during the invasion of Iraq a year ago in the compelling book INVASION OF IRAQ An Eyewitness Account.
Wednesday, 14th April, 6pm for 6.30 @ GLEEBOOKS, 49 Glebe Point Road, Glebe RSVP to gleebooks: (02) 9660 2333
She spent 10 harrowing weeks - from February to April last year -2003 witnessing first-hand the horror and reality of war and its terrible consequences for innocent civilians. In an email from March 2003 she wrote: "Each day when we see the light of the morning we are glad to find that we are still alive. Others are not so lucky. Hundreds of civilians, including small children, have been killed or wounded as a result ot the bombing. It is clear the Americans are bombing civilian targets as well as military ones."
For further information, contact: Waratah Rose Gillespie: 0422 802 018 or (02) 4274 0999 Rosemarie_Gillespie@ekno.com
RSVP to gleebooks: (02) 9660 2333
FALLUJA: VERY EYEWITNESS
THE FOLLOWING REPORT FROM JO COVERS SUNDAY, 11.4
JO: I'm sorry it's so long, but please, please read and forward widely. The truth of what's happening in Falluja has to get out. Hamoudie, my thoughts are with you.
11.4.04: Trucks, oil tankers, tanks are burning on the highway east to Falluja. A stream of boys and men goes to and from a lorry that's not burnt, stripping it bare. We turn onto the back roads through Abu Ghraib, Nuha and Ahrar singing in Arabic, past the vehicles full of people and a few possessions, heading the other way, past the improvised refreshment posts along the way where boys throw food through the windows into the bus for us and for the people inside still inside Falluja.
The bus is following a car with the nephew of a local sheikh and a guide who has contacts with the Mujahedin and has cleared this with them. The reason I'm on the bus is that a journalist I knew turned up at my door at about 11 at night telling me things were desperate in Falluja, he'd been bringing out children with their limbs blown off, the US soldiers were going around telling people to leave by dusk or be killed, but then when people fled with whatever they could carry, they were being stopped at the US military checkpoint on the edge of town and not let out, trapped, watching the sun go down.
He said aid vehicles and the media were being turned away. He said there was some medical aid that needed to go in and there was a better chance of it getting there with foreigners, westerners, to get through the american checkpoints. The rest of the way was secured with the armed groups who control the roads we'd travel on. We'd take in the medical supplies, see what else we could do to help and then use the bus to bring out people who needed to leave.
I'll spare you the whole decision making process, all the questions we all asked ourselves and each other, and you can spare me the accusations of madness, but what it came down to was this: if I don't do it, who will? Either way, we arrive in one piece.
We pile the stuff in the corridor and the boxes are torn open straightaway, the blankets most welcomed.It's not a hospital at all but a clinic, a private doctor's surgery treating people free since air strikes destroyed the town's main hospital. Another has been improvised in a car garage. There's no anaesthetic. The blood bags are in a drinks fridge and the doctors warm them up under the hot tap in an unhygienic toilet.
Screaming women come in, praying, slapping their chests and faces. Ummi, my mother, one cries. I hold her until Maki, a consultant and acting director of the clinic, brings me to the bed where a child of about ten is lying with a bullet wound to the head. A smaller child is being treated for a similar injury in the next bed. A US sniper hit them and their grandmother as they left their home to flee Falluja.
The lights go out, the fan stops and in the sudden quiet someone holds up the flame of a cigarette lighter for the doctor to carry on operating by. The electricity to the town has been cut off for days and when the generator runs out of petrol they just have to manage till it comes back on. Dave quickly donates his torch. The children are not going to live.
"Come," says Maki and ushers me alone into a room where an old woman has just had an abdominal bullet wound stitched up. Another in her leg is being dressed, the bed under her foot soaked with blood, a white flag still clutched in her hand and the same story: I was leaving my home to go to Baghdad when I was hit by a US sniper. Some of the town is held by US marines, other parts by the local fighters. Their homes are in the US controlled area and they are adamant that the snipers were US marines.
Snipers are causing not just carnage but also the paralysis of the ambulance and evacuation services. The biggest hospital after the main one was bombed is in US territory and cut off from the clinic by snipers. The ambulance has been repaired four times after bullet damage. Bodies are lying in the streets because no one can go to collect them without being shot.
Some said we were mad to come to Iraq; quite a few said we were completely insane to come to Falluja and now there are people telling me that getting in the back of the pick up to go past the snipers and get sick and injured people is the craziest thing they've ever seen. I know, though, that if we don't, no one will.
He's holding a white flag with a red crescent on; I don't know his name. The men we pass wave us on when the driver explains where we're going. The silence is ferocious in the no man's land between the pick up at the edge of the Mujahedin territory, which has just gone from our sight around the last corner and the marines' line beyond the next wall; no birds, no music, no indication that anyone is still living until a gate opens opposite and a woman comes out, points.
We edge along to the hole in the wall where we can see the car, spent mortar shells around it. The feet are visible, crossed, in the gutter. I think he's dead already. The snipers are visible too, two of them on the corner of the building. As yet I think they can't see us so we need to let them know we're there.
"Hello," I bellow at the top of my voice. "Can you hear me?" They must. They're about 30 metres from us, maybe less, and it's so still you could hear the flies buzzing at fifty paces. I repeat myself a few times, still without reply, so decide to explain myself a bit more.
"We are a medical team. We want to remove this wounded man. Is it OK for us to come out and get him? Can you give us a signal that it's OK?" I'm sure they can hear me but they're still not responding. Maybe they didn't understand it all, so I say the same again. Dave yells too in his US accent. I yell again. Finally I think I hear a shout back. Not sure, I call again.
"Can we come out and get him?"
Slowly, our hands up, we go out. The black cloud that rises to greet us carries with it a hot, sour smell. Solidified, his legs are heavy. I leave them to Rana and Dave, our guide lifting under his hips. The Kalashnikov is attached by sticky blood to is hair and hand and we don't want it with us so I put my foot on it as I pick up his shoulders and his blood falls out through the hole in his back. We heave him into the pick up as best we can and try to outrun the flies.
I suppose he was wearing flip flops because he's barefoot now, no more than 20 years old, in imitation Nike pants and a blue and black striped football shirt with a big 28 on the back. As the orderlies form the clinic pull the young fighter off the pick up, yellow fluid pours from his mouth and they flip him over, face up, the way into the clinic clearing in front of them, straight up the ramp into the makeshift morgue.
We wash the blood off our hands and get in the ambulance. There are people trapped in the other hospital who need to go to Baghdad. Siren screaming, lights flashing, we huddle on the floor of the ambulance, passports and ID cards held out the windows. We pack it with people, one with his chest taped together and a drip, one on a stretcher, legs jerking violently so I have to hold them down as we wheel him out, lifting him over steps.
The hospital is better able to treat them than the clinic but hasn't got enough of anything to sort them out properly and the only way to get them to Baghdad on our bus, which means they have to go to the clinic. We're crammed on the floor of the ambulance in case it's shot at. Nisareen, a woman doctor about my age, can't stop a few tears once we're out.
The doctor rushes out to meet me: "Can you go to fetch a lady, she is pregnant and she is delivering the baby too soon?"
Azzam is driving, Ahmed in the middle directing him and me by the window, the visible foreigner, the passport. Something scatters across my hand, simultaneous with the crashing of a bullet through the ambulance, some plastic part dislodged, flying through the window.
We stop, turn off the siren, keep the blue light flashing, wait, eyes on the silhouettes of men in US marine uniforms on the corners of the buildings. Several shots come. We duck, get as low as possible and I can see tiny red lights whipping past the window, past my head. Some, it's hard to tell, are hitting the ambulance I start singing. What else do you do when someone's shooting at you? A tyre bursts with an enormous noise and a jerk of the vehicle.
I'm outraged. We're trying to get to a woman who's giving birth without any medical attention, without electricity, in a city under siege, in a clearly marked ambulance, and you're shooting at us. How dare you? How dare you? Azzam grabs the gear stick and gets the ambulance into reverse, another tyre bursting as we go over the ridge in the centre of the road , the shots still coming as we flee around the corner. I carry on singing. The wheels are scraping, burst rubber burning on the road.
The men run for a stretcher as we arrive and I shake my head. They spot the new bullet holes and run to see if we're OK. Is there any other way to get to her, I want to know. La, maaku tarieq. There is no other way. They say we did the right thing. They say they've fixed the ambulance four times already and they'll fix it again but the radiator's gone and the wheels are buckled and she's still at home in the dark giving birth alone. I let her down.
We can't go out again. For one thing there's no ambulance and besides it's dark now and that means our foreign faces can't protect the people who go out with us or the people we pick up. Maki is the acting director of the place. He says he hated Saddam but now he hates the Americans more.
We take off the blue gowns as the sky starts exploding somewhere beyond the building opposite. Minutes later a car roars up to the clinic. I can hear him screaming before I can see that there's no skin left on his body. He's burnt from head to foot. For sure there's nothing they can do. He'll die of dehydration within a few days.
Another man is pulled from the car onto a stretcher. Cluster bombs, they say, although it's not clear whether they mean one or both of them. We set off walking to Mr Yasser's house, waiting at each corner for someone to check the street before we cross. A ball of fire falls from a plane, splits into smaller balls of bright white lights. I think they're cluster bombs, because cluster bombs are in the front of my mind, but they vanish, just magnesium flares, incredibly bright but short-lived, giving a flash picture of the town from above.
Yasser asks us all to introduce ourselves. I tell him I'm training to be a lawyer. One of the other men asks whether I know about international law. They want to know about the law on war crimes, what a war crime is. I tell them I know some of the Geneva Conventions, that I'll bring some information next time I come and we can get someone to explain it in Arabic.
We bring up the matter of Nayoko. This group of fighters has nothing to do with the ones who are holding the Japanese hostages, but while they're thanking us for what we did this evening, we talk about the things Nayoko did for the street kids, how much they loved her. They can't promise anything but that they'll try and find out where she is and try to persuade the group to let her and the others go. I don't suppose it will make any difference. They're busy fighting a war in Falluja. They're unconnected with the other group. But it can't hurt to try.
The planes are above us all night so that as I doze I forget I'm not on a long distance flight, the constant bass note of an unmanned reconnaissance drone overlaid with the frantic thrash of jets and the dull beat of helicopters and interrupted by the explosions.
In the morning I make balloon dogs, giraffes and elephants for the little one, Abdullah, Aboudi, who's clearly distressed by the noise of the aircraft and explosions. I blow bubbles which he follows with his eyes. Finally, finally, I score a smile. The twins, thirteen years old, laugh too, one of them an ambulance driver, both said to be handy with a Kalashnikov.
The doctors look haggard in the morning. None has slept more than a couple of hours a night for a week.One as had only eight hours of sleep in the last seven days, missing the funerals of his brother and aunt because he was needed at the hospital.
"The dead we cannot help," Jassim said. "I must worry about the injured."
We go again, Dave, Rana and me, this time in a pick up. There are some sick people close to the marines' line who need evacuating. No one dares come out of their house because the marines are on top of the buildings shooting at anything that moves. Saad fetches us a white flag and tells us not to worry, he's checked and secured the road, no Mujahedin will fire at us, that peace is upon us, this eleven year old child, his face covered with a keffiyeh, but for is bright brown eyes, his AK47 almost as tall as he is.
We shout again to the soldiers, hold up the flag with a red crescent sprayed onto it. Two come down from the building, cover this side and Rana mutters, "Allahu akbar. Please nobody take a shot at them."
We jump down and tell them we need to get some sick people from the houses and they want Rana to go and bring out the family from the house whose roof they're on. Thirteen women and children are still inside, in one room, without food and water for the last 24 hours.
"We're going to be going through soon clearing the houses," the senior one says.
"What does that mean, clearing the houses?"
"Going into every one searching for weapons." He's checking his watch, can't tell me what will start when, of course, but there's going to be air strikes in support. "If you're going to do tis you gotta do it soon."
First we go down the street we were sent to. There's a man, face down, in a white dishdasha, a small round red stain on his back. We run to him. Again the flies have got there first. Dave is at his shoulders, I'm by his knees and as we reach to roll him onto the stretcher Dave's hand goes through his chest, through the cavity left by the bullet that entered so neatly through his back and blew his heart out.
There's no weapon in his hand. Only when we arrive, his sons come out, crying, shouting. He was unarmed, they scream. He was unarmed. He just went out the gate and they shot him. None of them have dared come out since. No one had dared come to get his body, horrified, terrified, forced to violate the traditions of treating the body immediately. They couldn't have known we were coming so it's inconceivable that anyone came out and retrieved a weapon but left the xbody.
He was unarmed, 55 years old, shot in the back.
We cover his face, carry him to the pick up. There's nothing to cover his body with. The sick woman is helped out of the house, the little girls around her hugging cloth bags to their bodies, whispering, "Baba. Baba." Daddy. Shaking, they let us go first, hands up, around the corner, then we usher them to the cab of the pick up, shielding their heads so they can't see him, the cuddly fat man stiff in the back.
The people seem to pour out of the houses now in the hope we can escort them safely out of the line of fire, kids, women, men, anxiously asking us whether they can all go, or only the women and children. We go to ask. The young marine tells us that men of fighting age can't leave. What's fighting age, I want to know. He contemplates. Anything under forty five. No lower limit.
It appals me that all those men would be trapped in a city which is about to be destroyed. Not all of them are fighters, not all are armed. It's going to happen out of the view of the world, out of sight of the media, because most of the media in Falluja is embedded with the marines or turned away at the outskirts. Before we can pass the message on, two explosions scatter the crowd in the side street back into their houses.
Rana's with the marines evacuating the family from the house they're occupying. The pick up isn't back yet. The families are hiding behind their walls. We wait, because there's nothing else we can do. We wait in no man's land. The marines, at least, are watching usthrough binoculars; maybe the local fighters are too.
I've got a disappearing hanky in my pocket so while I'm sitting like a lemon, nowhere to go, gunfire and explosions aplenty all around, I make the hanky disappear, reappear, disappear. It's always best, I think, to seem completely unthreatening and completely unconcerned, so no one worries about you enough to shoot. We can't wait too long though. Rana's been gone ages. We have to go and get her to hurry. There's a young man in the group. She's talked them into letting him leave too.
A man wants to use his police car to carry some of the people, a couple of elderly ones who can't walk far, the smallest children. It's missing a door. Who knows if he was really a police car or the car was reappropriated and just ended up there? It didn't matter if it got more people out faster. They creep from their houses, huddle by the wall, follow us out, their hands up too, and walk up the street clutching babies, bags, each other.
The pick up gets back and we shovel as many onto it as we can as an ambulance arrives from somewhere. A young man waves from the doorway of what's left of a house, his upper body bare, a blood soaked bandage around his arm, probably a fighter but it makes no difference once someone is wounded and unarmed. Getting the dead isn't essential. Like the doctor said, the dead don't need help, but if it's easy enough then we will. Since we're already OK with the soldiers and the ambulance is here, we run down to fetch them in. It's important in Islam to bury the body straightaway.
The ambulance follows us down. The soldiers start shouting in English at us for it to stop, pointing guns. It's moving fast. We're all yelling, signalling for it to stop but it seems to take forever for the driver to hear and see us. It stops. It stops, before they open fire. We haul them onto the stretchers and run, shove them in the back. Rana squeezes in the front with the wounded man and Dave and I crouch in the back beside the bodies. He says he had allergies as a kid and hasn't got much sense of smell. I wish, retrospectively, for childhood allergies, and stick my head out the window.
The bus is going to leave, taking the injured people back to Baghdad, the man with the burns, one of the women who was shot in the jaw and shoulder by a sniper, several others. Rana says she's staying to help. Dave and I don't hesitate: we're staying too. "If I don't do it, who will?" has become an accidental motto and I'm acutely aware after the last foray how many people, how many women and children, are still in their houses either because they've got nowhere to go, because they're scared to go out of the door or because they've chosen to stay. To begin with it's agreed, then Azzam says we have to go. He hasn't got contacts with every armed group, only with some. There are different issues to square with each one. We need to get these people back to Baghdad as quickly as we can. If we're kidnapped or killed it will cause even more problems, so it's better that we just get on the bus and leave and come back with him as soon as possible.
It hurts to climb onto the bus when the doctor has just asked us to go and evacuate some more people. I hate the fact that a qualified medic can't travel in the ambulance but I can, just because I look like the sniper's sister or one of his mates, but that's the way it is today and the way it was yesterday and I feel like a traitor for leaving, but I can't see where I've got a choice. It's a war now and as alien as it is to me to do what I'm told, for once I've got to.
Jassim is scared. He harangues Mohammed constantly, tries to pull him out of the driver's seat wile we're moving. The woman with the gunshot wound is on the back seat, the man with the burns in front of her, being fanned with cardboard from the empty boxes, his intravenous drips swinging from the rail along the ceiling of the bus. It's hot. It must be unbearable for him.
Saad comes onto the bus to wish us well for the journey. He shakes Dave's hand and then mine. I hold his in both of mine and tell him "Dir balak," take care, as if I could say anything more stupid to a pre-teen Mujahedin with an AK47 in his other hand, and our eyes meet and stay fixed, his full of fire and fear.
Can't I take him away? Can't I take him somewhere he can be a child? Can't I make him a balloon giraffe and give him some drawing pens and tell him not to forget to brush his teeth? Can't I find the person who put the rifle in the hands of that little boy? Can't I tell someone about what that does to a child? Do I have to leave him here where there are heavily armed men all around him and lots of them are not on his side, however many sides there are in all of this? And of course I do. I do have to leave him, like child soldiers everywhere.
The way back is tense, the bus almost getting stuck in a dip in the sand, people escaping in anything, even piled on the trailer of a tractor, lines of cars and pick ups and buses ferrying people to the dubious sanctuary of Baghdad, lines of men in vehicles queuing to get back into the city having got their families to safety, either to fight or to help evacuate more people. The driver, Jassim, the father, ignores Azzam and takes a different road so that suddenly we're not following the lead car and we're on a road that's controlled by a different armed group than the ones which know us.
A crowd of men waves guns to stop the bus. Somehow they apparently believe that there are American soldiers on the bus, as if they wouldn't be in tanks or helicopters, and there are men getting out of their cars with shouts of "Sahafa Amreeki," American journalists. The passengers shout out of the windows, "Ana min Falluja," I am from Falluja. Gunmen run onto the bus and see that it's true, there are sick and injured and old people, Iraqis, and then relax, wave us on.
We stop in Abu Ghraib and swap seats, foreigners in the front, Iraqis less visible, headscarves off so we look more western. The American soldiers are so happy to see westerners they don't mind too much about the Iraqis with us, search the men and the bus, leave the women unsearched because there are no women soldiers to search us. Mohammed keeps asking me if things are going to be OK.
"Al-melaach wiyana, " I tell him. The angels are with us. He laughs. And then we're in Baghdad, delivering them to the hospitals, Nuha in tears as they take the burnt man off groaning and whimpering. She puts her arms around me and asks me to be her friend. I make her feel less isolated, she says, less alone.-
And the satellite news says the cease-fire is holding and George Bush says to the troops on Easter Sunday that, "I know what we're doing in Iraq is right." Shooting unarmed men in the back outside their family home is right. Shooting grandmothers with white flags is right? Shooting at women and children who are fleeing their homes is right? Firing at ambulances is right?
Well George, I know too now. I know what it looks like when you brutalise people so much that they've nothing left to lose. I know what it looks like when an operation is being done without anaesthetic because the hospitals are destroyed or under sniper fire and the city's under siege and aid isn't getting in properly. I know what it sounds like too. I know what it looks like when tracer bullets are passing your head, even though you're in an ambulance. I know what it looks like when a man's chest is no longer inside him and what it smells like and I know what it looks like when his wife and children pour out of his house.
It's a crime and it's a disgrace to us all.
Resistance Report for events of Sunday, 11 April 2004.
Translated and/or compiled by Muhammad Abu Nasr, member, editorial board, the Free Arab Voice. http://www.freearabvoice.org
Sunday, 11 April 2004.
Iraqi Resistance downs US helicopter, kills two American aggressor crew members.
The Iraqi Resistance shot down a US aggressor AH-64 Apache helicopter on Sunday morning in Abu Ghurayb west of Baghdad, killing its two crew members.
US admits eight Americans killed in two days.
The US occupation command admitted on Sunday that eight American aggressor troops had been killed in various Resistance attacks in the previous two days of fighting. The American communique said that four of the dead belonged to the 1st Armored Division and that they were killed in two attacks on 9 April in an ambush in Baghdad. Three of the soldiers belonged to the 1st Infantry Division and they were killed and two others wounded in an ambush near Tikrit, north of Baghdad, also on 9 April. One US Marine invader was killed on 10 April, the US statement claimed, as a result of fighting in al-Anbar Province (where al-Fallujah is located.)
The Situation in al-Fallujah.
According to the correspondent for al-Jazeera TV in al-Fallujah, in general on Sunday the cease fire agreement (reached just after midnight, thanks to the efforts of the Board of Muslim `Ulama' and the Islamic Party of Iraq) was observed by both sides, despite some intermittent shooting incidents.
`Ala' Makki, an official in the Iraqi Islamic Party, said that about 80 percent of all the Resistance fighters had responded to the call for a cease fire and that work was on to persuade the remaining 20 percent to go along as well.
Residents in al-Fallujah are still gathering bodies of those killed in the days of the American bombardment and burying them in the city cemeteries and in alternate places of burial as well. The cease fire is expected to be extended at least until Monday.
US snipers kill 11, wound 50 persons on streets of al-Fallujah during "cease fire".
Al-Jazeera TV reported from hospital sources in al-Fallujah that 11 persons were killed and 50 others wounded in the city on Sunday by American sniper fire, this despite a cease fire supposedly in force starting at noon, local time, to which the US had agreed.
Resistance wounds two Marines in al-Fallujah, one Iraqi Resistance fighter claimed killed.
Two US Marine invaders were wounded by Iraqi Resistance sniper fire on Sunday. Later one Iraqi Resistance fighter was martyed in a gun battle with the occpation troops.
Al-Fallujah Hospital director: 600 Iraqis died in US attack on the city.
The Director of the largest hospital in al-Fallujah said on Sunday that more than 600 Iraqis were killed in the US military campaign against the city. He cautioned that the number is only approximate, since many families have been able to get out of their houses and have buried their dead in their own back yards.
US General claims 60 Resistance fighters from al-Fallujah held prisoner.
US Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt claimed on Sunday that the American aggressor forces had captured 60 Iraqi Resistance fighters during the battles surrounding defiant al-Fallujah. Kimmitt asserted that among the Iraqi Resistance fighters taken prisoner were Arab fighters from the fraternal regions of Egypt, the Sudan, and Syria.
Americans lose men, vehicles in al-Fallujah fighting on Saturday.
Iraqi Resistance fighters in al-Fallujah on Saturday attacked a group of US troops made up of sharpshooters and infantrymen protected by armored vehicles in al-Jawlan neighborhood and destroyed six of the vehicles, killing all aboard them and destroying three Humvees, according to a report by Mafkarat al-Islam's (www.islammemo.cc) correspondent in al-Fallujah. The sharpshooters and infantrymen then became easy targets for the Resistance fighters, and all were wiped out, the correspondent reported.
Iraqi Resistance downs four US helicopters on Saturday.
Iraqi Resistance fighters brought down a total of four American aggressor helicopters on Saturday. The first was shot down in al- Jawlan neighborhood. The second was downed by a rocket-propelled grenade in ad-Dughaythi. The third was shot down on the road to ar- Ramadi. The fourth and last helicopter of the day was shot down in as-Saqlawiyah. The correspondent of Mafkarat al-Islam (www.islammemo.cc) in al-Fallujah reported that as-Saqlawiyah was the site of two helicopter downings on Friday as well.
Resistance attacks US truck convoy near Baghdad.
For the second day running Iraqi Resistance forces attacked an American occupation supply truck convoy near the town of at- Taramiyah, a suburb of Baghdad. One truck was seen burning as Iraqi youths on the scene pelted the aggressor vehicles with stones. An Apache helicopter gun ship hovered menacingly overhead.
Mafkarat al-Islam: Iraqi Resistance controls roads linking US forces around al-Fallujah. Americans, cut off from supplies by land, must rely on communications and supplies coming in by air.
The correspondent of Mafkarat al-Islam (www.islammemo.cc) in al- Fallujah has filed the following report.
The Iraqi Resistance has put US forces in an entanglement like no other they have encountered since entering Iraq. Resistance forces have cut the roads between all the American military units from Abu Ghurayb to al-Fallujah, in effect cutting off the Americans in all directions on the ground. In most cases, as a result, they have had to rely on supplies and assistance coming in by air in order to turn back Iraqi Resistance attacks. In al-Fallujah, the Resistance took advantage of the help they received from their brothers in Abu Ghurayb and ar-Ramadi who cut all the roads used by US supply convoys.
US occupation forces withdrew from the industrial district of al- Fallujah on Saturday, a district in which the Americans had been concentrated. On Sunday the US aggressors withdrew from an-Najdat district and the surrounding area, and they are now surrounded in the residential neighborhood where the commander of US operations in the area was killed on Thursday - something that Mafkarat al-Islam reported only one hour after it occurred. The Americans are also cut off in an-Nizal neighborhood and in ash-Shukr neighborhood across the railroad tracks.
US forces were also cut off in as-Saqlawiyah. American forces are also nearly cut off in Abu Ghurayb and ar-Ramadi since they cannot move about nor can supplies reach them, as both yesterday and the day before supply convoys were struck by the Resistance and nearly totally destroyed. The statement of the American prisoner carried by al-Jazeera on Saturday - who said that he thought he was the only survivor from the convoy in which he was travelling - is evidence to this effect.
A source in the Iraqi Resistance mocked the statement made by US Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt who said that a new brigade of Marine invaders had been sent to strengthen the noose around al-Fallujah. The Resistance source commented: "then they must be coming from the sky," and asked, "how can they be winning if they have to send in two whole new brigades?"
Resistance knocks out US APC, kills four American troops in al- Fallujah.
Iraqi Resistance fighters attacked an American armored vehicle, killing four of its crewmen and setting it ablaze in al-`Askari neighborhood of al-Fallujah on Sunday. The armored vehicle was combing the area just prior to the American withdrawal from the neighborhood, according to a report from Mafkarat al-Islam's (www.islammemo.cc) correspondent in the defiant city.
Resistance fighters burn three Humvees, fuel tanker in Abu Ghurayb.
Iraqi Resistance forces set three American Humvees ablaze in the Abu Ghurayb suburb west of Baghdad on Sunday. They also set a fuel tanker blonging to the occupation on fire, according to a report carried by al-Jazeera TV.
American soldier wounded last week dies Sunday.
One American reportedly died on Sunday of wounds received in battle with the Iraqi Resistance last week in the town of Ba`qubah, north east of Baghdad.
20 Kurdish chauvinist Peshmergah militiamen killed serving the US at al-Fallujah.
At least 20 members of the Kurdish chauvinist collaborationist militia the "Peshmergah", linked to the so-called Kurdistan Democratic Party led by Mas`ud Barizani, were killed on Saturday as they fought in service of the American aggressors around al- Fallujah. The correspondent of Mafkarat al-Islam (www.islammemo.cc) reported that a group of 40 Peshmergah chauvinist militiamen were fighting with the Americans and no fewer than 20 of them were killed in the area of as-Saqlawiyah near al-Fallujah.
Barizani's Peshmergah played a major role during the American invasion of Iraq as they helped open the northern approaches of the country to the invaders.
US aggressors raid mosque, destroy relief supplies donated for al- Fallujah.
US aggressor forces carried out a dawn raid on the large and historic Abu Hanifah Mosque in al-A`zamiyah district of occupied Baghdad on Sunday. The American invaders destroyed large stocks of aid materials that had been donated by Iraqis and were to have been taken to the residents of al-Fallujah, cut off from food and medial supplies thanks to the US embargo on their defiant city. The American Crusaders also raided the Kulliyat al-Imam al-A`zam (Abu Hanifah College) and student dormitories causing material damage to the building.
Baghdad mosque loudspeakers call on Iraqis to donate medical supplies for defiant al-Fallujah.
Mosques in Baghdad on Sunday called on Iraqis to hurry to donate medical supplies in particular to be sent to the people of besieged al-Fallujah where the hospitals and clinics face serious shortages. The mosques also called on associations and organizations that had ambulances to take advantage of the truce between Resistance forces and the US aggressors to transport wounded from al-Fallujah hospitals to Baghdad, according to a report carried by the Egyptian Middle East News Agency.
Dawn blasts shake Baghdad.
Powerful explosions shook all parts of Baghdad at dawn on Sunday. Smoke rose from an area near the headquarters of the American occupation - the Republican Palace area which the Americans call the "Green Zone." Al-Jazeera TV reported US spokesmen as saying they had no information about the blasts.
Iraqi Resistance destroys three US vehicles near Ba`qubah.
Iraqi Resistance fighters attacked US aggressor troops in as-Sadah area east of Ba`qubah on Saturday-Sunday night. The center of the city witnessed similar battles as explosions could be heard in various parts of the city, according to a report by al-Jazeera's correspondent in Ba`qubah. In the course of the battles three American vehicles were destroyed.
Resistance strikes British base in al-Basrah with mortars.
Iraqi Resistance fighters fired mortars at the British aggressor base in the are of at-Tuwaysah in the city of al-Basrah. Al-Jazeera's correspondent reported that two mortar shells landed on the British headquarters on Saturday night and that helicopters were sent aloft to hunt for the attackers.
Maysan: puppet police foil Resistance rocket attack.
In the city of Maysan on Sunday, Iraqi puppet police discovered a number of Katyusha rockets targeted against the local British aggressor base in the city, according to a report on al-Jazeera TV.
Jaysh al-Mahdi forces battle US aggressors in three neighborhoods of Kirkuk.
Supporters of the Shi`ite Religious leader Muqtada as-Sadr attacked US aggressor forces in three predominantly Shi`ite areas in eastern Kirkuk on Saturday evening with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. The commander of the puppet police in the city told Agence France Presse on Sunday that four of the Shi`ite Resistance fighters had fallen as martyrs in the battle and that a number of others were captured. The three neighborhoods in which the battles took place were al-`Urubah, al-Wahdah, and an-Nasr. He offered no further details about the battle.
Italians destroy as-Sadr offices in an-Nasiriyah.
Italian aggressor forces dynamited an office of ash-Shahid as-Sadr, totally destroying it, in the southern city of an-Nasiriyah.
Iraqi Resistance group releases eight foreign hostages.
An Iraqi Resistance organization has announced that it has released eight foreign hostages, who, it said, were truck drivers who had been captured while bringing supplies to the US occupation forces in Iraq. The release came in response to an appeal by the Board of Muslim `Ulama'. The hostages belonged to several nationalities: three were Pakistanis, two were Turks, and there were one Indian, Nepali, and Filipino as well. Al-Jazeera TV broadcast a video showing scenes of the release on which each one of those set free gave his name and country of origin and showed his identity card and passport to the camera.
On the tape, a masked man said: "the hostages have been released in response to an appeal from the Board of Muslim `Ulama' to release civilian prisoners and to treat them well. After the hostages pledged that they would never cooperate with the occupation forces again. This also serves to demonstrate to the world that we respect others so long as the others respect us and do not commit aggression against us."
A masked Resistance fighter could be seen on the tape giving the released foreign hostages Iraqi money.
Questions arise over release of Japanese hostages.
An element of confusion entered into the situation surrounding three Japanese hostages being held by a Resistance group called the Squadrons of the Mujahideen. On Saturday it was announced that the Squadrons had ordered their release. But on Sunday the head of the "Committee for the defense of the Iraqi People" told al-Jazeera that the Squadrons had not in fact agreed to their release despite his efforts.
German "guards" probably killed; two killed dubbed CIA agents.
The German government announced that the two men, reportedly German embassy guards, who disappeared on their way from Jordan to Baghdad on Saturday had probably been killed.
Al-Jazeera broadcasts video of two dead Americans said to be CIA agents.
Al-Jazeera TV obtained video footage showing two bloodstained dead bodies dressed in civilian clothing lying in a street surrounded by Iraqi citizens. Bullet wounds were visible on one body in the back and in the leg of the other. The voiceover said that the two dead persons had been members of the American Central Intelligence Agency working in Iraq.
MASSACRES IN FALLUGA
Sat, 10 Apr 2004--JUST RECEIVED from Ewa Jasiewicz, who worked with Voices in the Wilderness and Occupation Watch in Iraq, lived there for 8 months (Basra and Baghdad) and in Palestine, mainly Jenin camp for 6 months, speaks Arabic, and who got back from Iraq 2 months ago. She is in regular contact with her friends in Basra and Baghdad.
EWA: I just spoke to friends in Baghdad - Paola Gaspiroli, Italian, from Occupation watch and Bridges to Baghdad, Journalist Leigh Gordon, England, (NUJ, Tribune, Mail on Sunday) and a Palestinian friend with family in Falluja and friends in the Iraqi Islamic Party. Both he and Leigh have been ferrying out the injured from Falluja to Baghdad for the past three days. Ambulances have been barred from entry into the blood-drenched city.
Here is their news, which they told me over the telephone tonight (Friday [April 9, 2004])
There has been a massacre in Falluga. Falluga is under siege. 470 people have been killed, and 1700 injured. There has been no ceasefire. They (the Americans) told people to leave, said they have 8 hours to leave and people began to leave but they're trapped in the Desert. The Americans have been bombing with B52s (Confirmed also by Leigh in an email three days ago). Bridges to Baghdad are pulling out. We have flights booked out of Amman. Tomorow a team will go to Sadr City to deliver medicines. 50 people have been killed there. ?? (Forgotten name) the 'elastic' shiekh in Sadr City (I've met him, young, brilliant guy, describes himself as 'elastic' because he is so flexible when it comes to his interpretations of Islam and moral conduct definitions etc, he's pretty liberal) he has told me I should leave. He says that even he can't control his people. Foreigners are going to be targeted. 6 new foreigners have been taken hostage. Four of them are Italian security firm employees - they were kidnapped from their car, which was found to be full of weapons, and there were black uniforms.
Baghdad was quiet today except for Abu Ghraib(West Baghdad, where a vast prison is located and is bursting at the seams with 12,000 prisoners). An American convoy was attacked there and 9 soldiers were injured and 27 were kidnapped. That's right 27. None of the newswires are reporting it though. And I heard this from (*name best not to supply without permission). Its really really bad.
The Americans) have been firing on Ambulances, snipers are following the ambulances, they cannot get in.
Falluga, there are people in the Desert, they've left Falluga but they're not being allowed into Baghdad, they're trapped in the Dessert, they're like refugees, its terrible but the people, Iraqi people are giving all they can; they're bringing supplies, everybody is giving all their help and support to Falluga.
I want to stay but I have to go, if I want to come back and be useful, you know I think its best to leave, Bridges to Baghdad has decided this.
It's getting really dangerous for Italians. We feel like we're being targeted now. (Italy has a 2500+ force including Carabinieri occupying Nassiriyah which has been subject to a number of resistance attacks including the devastating attack on the Police station which claimed the lives of 4 soldiers, one civilian, one documentary film maker, 12 Carabinieri police and 8 Iraqis).
(.) and Leigh have been great. They've been driving into Falluga and bringing out people, going back and forth. They know what's going on, really they have been great. They want more people to help them but we couldn't from here. It's getting much much worse.
My friend who's been in Falluga today and for the past few days: We've been seeing it with our own eyes. People were told to leave Falluga and now there are thousands trapped in the Desert. There is a 13 km long convoy of people trying to reach Baghdad. The Americans are firing bombs, everything, everything they have on them. They are firing on Families! They are all children, old men and women in the dessert. Other Iraqi people are trying to help them. In Falluga they (Americans) have been bombing hospitals. Children are being evacuated to Baghdad. There is a child now, a baby, he had 25 members of his family killed, he's in the hospital and someone needs to be with him, why isn't anyone there to stay with him, he just lost 25 from his family!???
The Americans are dropping cluster bombs and new mortars, which jump 3-4 metres. They are bombing from the air. There are people lying dead in the streets. They said there'd be a ceasefire and then they flew in, I saw them, and they beganto bomb. They are fighting back and they are fighting well in Falluga. But we are expecting the big attack in 24-48 hours. It will be the main attack. They will be taking the town street by street and searching and attacking. They did this already in a village near-by, I forget the name, but they will be doing this in Falluja. Please get help, get people to protest, get them to go to the Embassies, get them out, get them to do something. There is a massacre. And we need foreigners, the foreigners can do something. We are having a protest, Jo (Jo Wilding www.wildfirejo.org.uk) and the others from her group are coming to the American checkpoint tomorrow. We haven't slept in 3 or 4 days. We need attention. I have photos, film, we've given it to Al jazeera, Al Arabiyabut get it out too. Do everything you can. We are going back in tomorrow.
Leigh Gordon: It's kicking off. Come by all means but me and (..)probably won't be around. I mean they're going to crazy. (.) is sayingfor foreigners to come but its not safe. Sheikh .. from Falluga said hecouldn't guarantee my safety. I mean its going to go crazy, I think foreigners will start getting killed soon - I mean people are going to start getting desperate, when they've seen their mother father, house, cat, dog, everything bombed they're going to start to attack. They (Americans) have said this operations only going to last 5 days' it's drawing to an end. They need to free up troops on other fronts breaking out all over the country. They're going to go in for the kill. There's no way of guaranteeing anybody's safety. I think you can be useful but its not like you can just not tell your mum and think you'll be back in a week. We're probably going to get killed tomorrow. Come, but we might not be here.
2 years ago right now, the Jenin camp Massacre was tearing into its 7th day, the 1km square tight-knit Palestinian refugee camp was suffering an Israeli military invasion which would see 79 killed (in the last count after bodies had been recovered form the rubble), including a head paramedic doctor and people who slowly bled to death from superficial injuries because all medical services were barred from entering for the duration of the attack (14 days). Over 800 homes destroyed, most in the Hawasheen neighbourhood which suffered a 4-day-long continuous bulldozer offensive, crushing residents including young children to death. Hundreds were injured in the attack which involved also involved apache helicopter gunships, hundreds of Merkava tanks, Armoured Personnel Carriers and hundreds of troops. 23 were killed (official Israeli figure but the actual toll is estimated at much higher. An entire road route from Jenin into '48 (Israel) was sealed off as a closed military zone and witnesses barred whilst the dead and injured from the Israeli side were being transported out).
All Palestinian emergency services, The UN, The Red Cross, foreign aid workers, and human rights observers were banned from entering Jenin camp. The massacre gouged on as the worlds media attention was fixated on Aarafat besieged in his compound. Jenin suffered in silence. Falluga, a city with a population 18 times the size of Jenin Camp (Jenin camp'spopulation was approx. 14,000, Falluga's is 232,000), is now undergoing a parallel trauma, but with a larger, more powerful, better armed enemy, which has carpet bombed, recently and historically when the war-heat has forced land-troops to retreat. This is another Jenin. This is another massacre. We have to do what we can in solidarity with the dying and the bereaved and those still struggling, defending, fighting back.
Resistance is dignity, is the honour of fighting back. Iraq is on fire. The Iraqi intifada is raging. We cannot be silent. Stop the massacre in Falluga. Remember the massacre in Jenin. Never Again.
What to Do:
This is an appeal to the anti-war movement, to the peace movement, eco-action movement, animal rights movement, anti-fascists, everybody active, everybody who can respond, can call a demo, can organise a protest, an office occupation, an embassy storming, a road blockade, mass civil disobedience, industrial shut-down, work-place occupation, solidarity work stoppage, blockade the US Embassy, Fairford Military Base action campaign - what's taking off at Fairford? Are B52s being deployed?
Shannon Peace Camp protestors - are there new movements at Shannon? We need to address this, we need to resist this. We become the solidarity resistance in Iraq by taking action in our neighbourhoods and in our cities. Print up a leaflet. Paint up a banner. Take to the streets. Only a small group can make a change. Show people in Iraq that we are standing by them.
700 more British troops have been flown in to quell the uprising in the South. No Pasaran. Take to the embassies, the bases, the US interests, the streets.
http://www.caat.org.uk/links/companies.php - full list of arms companies. BAE Systems, and Lockheed Martin have been principal supplies of weapons of mass destruction for the war on Iraq
http://www.caat.org.uk/support/confronting-companies.php - tips on confronting arms companies by Campaign Against the Arms Trade
http://english.aljazeera.net/HomePage - Keep up to date with Al Jazeera
Sample Leaflet Text
As you read this, a massacre is taking place in Falluja, Iraq. Falluja is a town which has been resisting the occupation of Iraq since June. US troops have been forced to the border of the town since then. It has fought hardest and most uncompromisingly and has regularly pummelled by F16 fighter jets and apache helicopter gunships since then, with civilians being slaughtered on a regular basis.
Well over 470 people have now been slaughtered by US troops in Falluja, this week. 1700 have been injured. The deathtoll is expected to rise due to the siege nature of the military cordon around the town. Ambulances are being fired upon and followed by sniper sights if they attempt to enter the town. Eyewitnesses have reported seeing bodies lying dead in the streets. Hospitals have been attacked. Medical supplies and bed shortages are at crisis levels. Residents are calling it a massacre. People from all over are attempting, some succeeding, to get into Falluja to help evacuate the injured by car. People are donating food, medical supplies and water to those fleeing. All of Iraq is watching and sympathising with Falluja say people on the ground there.
There is at the time of writing (10/04/04) a 13km column of Falluja residents fleeing the bomb-smashed town, trapped in the desert and surrounded by US troops which eye-witnesses report have been firing on them. Most of the desert marooned refugees are elderly men, women and children.
For US soldiers stationed near the town, they have been in an impossible situation and their blood too is being shed for the market-profit-power chasing interests of the US and UK government and corporate interests. Recently, the long-time brewing discontent, frustration, humiliation, and mounting rage against the occupation has exploded. The occupation is being fought for its very existence, its racism, its violence. Its recycling and re-empowerment of a neo-Baathist ruling elite, its re-training and re-hiring of over 10,000 Baathist torturers and intelligence agents, its re-writing of Iraq's laws through Coalition Provisional Authority Orders (principally Order 30 on Salaries and Employment Conditions for Civil Service Employees which sets the minimum wage for Iraqi Public Sector workers at 69,000 ID ($40 per month - less than half the recommended wage of a sweatshop worker in a free trade zone in neighbouring Iran), plus Order 39 on Foreign Investment which allows for 100% foreign ownership - privatisation - and slashes the highest rate of income tax from 45% to 15%) has resulted in insurrection.
The climate in Iraq has moved on from protest to resistance, and now to insurgency. Demonstrations have been taking place every day all over the country since the occupation began, with protestors ranging from students to pensioners, unemployed, women, former soldiers and children. This new uprising has been labelled a revolt in support of the anti-Occupation cleric Muqtada al Sadr, but the reality is that it is widespread, uncontrollable, inchoate and varied. It is not Islamic, it is not just nationalist, it is not Baathist. It is a generalised
struggle against the Occupation -
the biggest incitement to violence in the country.
Please stand in solidarity with the people in Iraq during this upheaval and time of bloodshed. Please join the protest against the bloody massacre in Falluja, which will spread if the occupation armies continue unchecked and un-challenged.
Stop the ongoing war on Iraq. Troops out of Iraq.
PLEASE FORWARD TO LISTS ETC ETC
Iraq Solidarity Action - Resist the Massacre in Falluga
Obviously directed at Brits, but adapt for your place(s) forwarded without comments, max
Following are three
emails from people involved in the anti-war movement or in
We are glad you are there. I had a chance to talk to Eman [Eman Ahmed Khammas, Occupation Watch Center, Baghdad] briefly on the telephone today. She is fine. But naturally anxious. She said it is getting worse. The troops today surrounded a hospital and would not let people coming to donate blood go in. We did not talk long. Because we wanted to go on with the talk on the radio interview but then the lines went bad and we could not connect.
There was broad coverage of the situation
With deep concern and in solidarity
Iraqi marchers break through US roadblocks in bid to relieve rebel bastion
i am fine and being careful. today has been intense, as described at the end of the article. i miss you all.
Thank You Paul Bremer
Seven weeks away and Baghdad has changed dramatically. Our old hotel, scene of alternative journalism and Iranian pilgrims, no longer allows Westerners out of safety concerns, both for us and for them. The Iranians stopped visiting after the bombings of the Shia mosques in early March, plus the border was closed or curtailed on the Iraqi side. And the Mount Lebanon Hotel bombing, which blew out windows all over the neighborhood, sent the foreign journos scurrying back to walled compounds or guarded apartments. And I can hardly blame them. I am writing from inside one myself.
I am warned not to walk the streets alone, even during the day. There is now a significant anti-foreigner sentiment in the city that did not exist as strongly before. In any Shia neighborhood, pictures of Mukhtadar Al Sadr hang on every doorway, where before they did not. Overnight, the son of the Shia martyr is the new hero of the resistance.
I believe it is similar to the response
we noticed in some of our Iraqi friends after the
Al Sadr is saying what a lot of people want to hear.
He is outspokenly anti-occupation and anti-American, and is arguably the loudest
voice with that slant. As it daily becomes more and more obvious that
We attended two demonstrations yesterday, one of them a funeral procession in Thawra, formerly known as Saddam City, then Sadr City, now called by its original name. Every night for the past week there has been fighting there, and the funeral was for two men killed the previous evening by the Americans. The crowd was angry and energetic, and nervously observing the proceedings with field glasses from a hundred yards away were American soldiers perched on heavy tanks.
I was asked multiple times what country I was from. "Mexico", I replied, and they left me alone. Americans, even journalists, are now persona non grata in many parts of the city.
The fighting is not restricted solely to the Shia areas. Al Adamiyah neighborhood, heavily Sunna and strongly anti-occupation, has seen nightly firefights as well, with funerals every morning that lead to more clashes. And of course, there are those two old thorns in the Americans's side, Fallujah and Ramadi, the first surrounded by troops and the second beginning a fresh round of assaults on the occupiers. Last night twelve Marines were killed there.
It also seems that every country in the "coalition" is seeing casualties: the Italians, Ukrainians, El Salvadorans, etc. No one will escape unscathed from signing on to this insane venture.
The question on everyone's lips is: will this offensive
last? Are we seeing the beginning of the Iraqi intifada,
or the last gasp of armed resistance? I hate people who try and predict the
future, so I won't try and do that here. My feeling
though, is the former. At the very least, there will continue to be bloody
attacks, car bombs, and random anti-foreigner violence in
The worst is the rumors. Baghdad is already a city of lies, and now it's ten times worse. Journalists nervously yammer on in the restaurants about waves of suicide bombers swarming the hotels, horrible atrocities committed by the resistance, and how we are all going to die. Everyone is on edge, you can feel it in the air, and it further clouds the already evasive truth about the situation here.
For now, all we can do is watch the situation unfold. I just witnessed an Al Jazeera reporter on television, live from Fallujah, ducking and dodging as he tried to describe the action there, while American helicopters traded fire with fighters on the ground nearby him. Al Sadrâ€™s people say that Sistani has pledged his support for them, though what this will mean is unclear, like everything else here.
Earlier today I watched Paul Bremer on television. He said, "This is not a Shia uprising." He is right about that: it is a nationwide, across the board resistance. We just heard that the most prominent Sunna cleric issued a statement in support of the uprising in Fallujah. Then the Ukrainian troops abandoned Kut, driven out by fierce fighting.
Today we returned to Sadr City, where the headquarters of Al Sadr's
party was attacked the night before. It had been hit with guided missles,
and tanks had knocked through the outer walls. The building was heavily damaged,
but people were gathered and were rebuilding it with a vengeance. Everyone
was helping, passing bricks and mortar, singing, waving flags. Masked Mahdi militants stood on the roof with Kalashnikovs. The spirit
was incredible. We asked some of the people if the Shia
and the Sunna will fight together against the Americans.
"We want to thank
Paul Bremer", said one man, "for uniting
Then we drove across the neighborhood to a mosque that is collecting blood donations for the people of Fallujah. That's right, the Shia are helping the Sunna with medical aid. This is a full-on counteroffensive, I do not believe it will end soon, and Al Sadr, to my observation, is only its most visible pundit. The resistance is much bigger than him.
Stay tuned for more details.
David Martinez 04.07.04 Baghdad
Dear friends, how r u?
I have just came from a place in where thousands of people are going to give their blood needed by the people of Falluja. People everywhere in Baghdad are giving their blood, food and money to Falluja's people.
I think that u know a little about us from the news, the situation here is worse than it is on TV and news, the resistance is taking place everywhere in Iraq.
I live in Al Aathamyia,
it is in the centre of Baghdad, I think u have heard about it also on TV.
Yesterday was a bloody day. The houses were really shaking, and the sounds
of explosions were great, it was stronger than it is in the war period. In
the near streets we saw the fighters carrying the RPGs [Rocket Propelled Grenades] on their shoulders, and other
kinds of weapons and running in the streets, taking a place to wait for the
American troops to come, and in the same time all of them start to shoot.
In the war we were afraid of these sounds, but not anymore. U hear the women
telling their children, our souls are not more expensive than those fighters
in the streets, they also have families and they want to live as u want, but
they r trying to let Iraq and Iraqis to live a better life and to revenge
for all of us. They r all young men, u even find young men about 17-18 years
old with the elder ones, bravery they have inside them can do many things.
About al Sadr; he is a young Shiite man, who is against the Americans
and their behavior against Iraqi people. He has thousands of supporters here.
At the beginning he was using peaceful methods in dealing with the occupation,
but after one year from the war and after he used all possible peaceful ways,
he reached the point where he has to fight them by the same way they treat
Iraqis. First he asked them to free all the prisoners (there are about 10,000)
and asked them also to leave
About what happened in Falluja when they burned the bodies of the American soldiers: Most of the people here have the same opinions, and they said that it is not allowed at all in any religion and especially in Islam to do this to the dead bodies, but we can not blame them coz they r expressing their feelings towards them and they have the right! U saw how the Americans killed more than 200 in al Falluja in 2 days only. Bcoz of 4 persons, only 4 persons were responsible for this operation but they killed hundreds of innocent people for this, most of them are women and children. They r surrounding the city and preventing food and water getting in.
I'll give u another example about the aggressive feelings they put inside people and the hate that they created between the different people around the world. In the past people were very sensitive towards others feelings and their problems, but now they r not. When the last events happened in Madrid, I told them they r poor civilians, they said no we r also civilians, let them know what others suffer!
Let me now tell u my own story with the Americans: There were two translators working with them, and they knew that I hate them, they saw a picture of Saddam Hussein with me as a screen saver on my phone, when one of them told the soldiers this, they came to me and said why do u have that? I said coz I love him, they said how come? I told them it is my opinion and it is a free country like u said, didn?t u make it a free country? They said no, this is an extreme opinion. Then they said were u living good at that time? I said we were living in a Paradise - they started to shout and saying to each other to listen what is she saying. They told me stand here and they forced me to stand under the sun for 5 hours. I told them at least Saddam would never allow a young girl to stand under the sun for 5 hours. They got really mad, they said maybe we'll put u in prison and u'll never go out again. I asked them, only coz i said my opinion?! They said yes, then a civilian Canadian man came and he was angry at them, he told them this is her own opinion and her own thoughts. He said let her them for herself, and then they write down my name and full address and took my photo and said now go but next time will be the end for u!!
This is a brief, and if u have any question don't hesitate to ask me.
Yours, Sura 8 April 2004 in letter to British Socialist Labor Party
EMERGENCY CALL FOR SOLIDARITY WITH THE IRAQI PEOPLE
by Eman Ahmed Khammas, Occupation Watch Center, Baghdad
According to reports, in Falluja alone, over three hundred Iraqis have been killed and hundreds more injured since attacks began on Sunday, April 4. There is fighting in Baghdad, particularly in the neighborhoods of Sadr, Adaamiya, Shula, Yarmok, and the cities and towns of Falluja, Ramadi, Basrah, Nasiriya, Kerbala, Amarah, Kut, Kufa, Najaf, Diwaniya, Balad, and Baquba. Residences, hospitals, mosques and ambulances trying to transport the injured are being bombed and fired at by Occupation Forces' guns and tanks.
Falluja and Adaamiya are currently under siege, surrounded by Occupation Forces, in contravention of the Geneva Convention that prohibits holding civilian communities under siege. Hospitals do not have access to sufficient medical aid, essential medicine and equipment or blood supplies. In Falluja, the hospitals have been surrounded by soldiers forcing doctors to establish field hospitals in private homes. Blood donors are not allowed to enter; consequently, mosques in both Baghdad and Falluja are collecting blood for the injured. Water and electricity have been cut off for the past several days.
In Sadr City
While these attacks have escalated
sharply over the past week, they are in no way a new phenomenon in occupied
We call on the international community, civil society and the anti-war/anti-occupation movements to respond to this US-led war of terror with tangible displays of solidarity and support for Iraqi people facing this gruesome manifestation of the occupation.
Please take to the streets to demand an end to the US-led aggression. Organize protests in front of US consulates and embassies around the world and demand: an immediate end to this massacre; an immediate end to the siege of Iraqi cities and neighborhoods; immediate access to humanitarian and medical aid organizations seeking to provide assistance to Iraqi people who are living under attack; and an end to the occupation of our nation.
Cities in which demonstrations have already been organized include Milan, Montreal, Paris, Tokyo, Istanbul, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and New York City.
(This emergency call and other
important updates have been posted on health-now.org. We will try to monitor
the situation in
Iraqi Resistance Report for events of Thursday, 8 April 2004. Translated and/or compiled by Muhammad Abu Nasr, member, editorial board, the Free Arab Voice. http://www.freearabvoice.org
Thursday, 8 April 2004.
Firece battle rages in al-Fallujah.
Battles between the Iraqi Resistance
The Iraqi Resistance defenders beat off repeated attacks by the occupation forces inflicting dozens of dead and wounded in the American ranks on Thursday alone. Al-Jazeera's correspondent reported that F-16 fighter bombers fired a barrage at an-Nizal neighborhood in the eastern part of the city. Heavy fighting broke out in the streets intermittently between US invaders and Iraqi Resistance fighters in al-Jawlan neighborhood in the city's north west.
Witnesses reported that an American
helicopter was shot down in a garden in al-Jawlan
neighborhood Thursday morning. Al-Jazeera's correspondent
reported that occupation forces were trying to take over the Mosque of al-Khulafa'
ar-Rashidin at the eastern entrance to the city
and that they had re-taken the Mosque of `Abd al-`Aziz as- Samarra'i in an-Nizal neighborhood. From the rooftops of the mosques and higher
apartment buildings the
Tahir al-`Isawi, Director of al-Fallujah Hospital, said on Thursday that the number of Iraqi victims who have fallen since the start of the US attack on Monday has risen to 280 dead and 400 wounded, but he cautioned that the number of dead is likely to rise if the military operations continue - as they appear to be doing. (The number of dead and wounded was later reported as 300 and 500, respectively, but was continuing to climb later on Thursday.)
A statement issued by the `Ulama'
and Imams of Mosques of al-Fallujah to the US forces
warned them against attempts to target or occupy mosques, as that constitutes
the targeting of holy places and houses of worship. A spokesman for the American
occupation forces in
Humanitarian assistance to al-Fallujah
began to arrive on the outskirts of the besieged city on Thursday, but whether
it could get in was in serious doubt, thanks to
US aggressor forces on Thursday failed
to land troops in the city of al-Fallujah where
the correspondent of Mafkarat al-Islam (www.islammemo.cc)
reported that US forces launched five attempted landing assaults on al-Fallujah on Thursday. Three of these targeted
al-Jawlan neighborhood, the area that has
put up the toughest resistance to the
Residents report that one of the failed
landing attempts left no fewer than 15 dead Americans in its wake after the
Resistance directed intense fire upon several of them who were unable to flee.
Those who got away only escaped after air support was called in but they had
to get away from the scene of the fighting first because the helicopters were
afraid to approach the area lest they become targets of Resistance missiles.
Al-Fallujah's residents reckon that many
correspondent in besieged al-Fallujah reported that
in response to repeated bloody defeats at the hands of Iraqi Resistance fighters
defending al-Fallujah, the
In addition the correspondent noted
Al-Jazeera: US using internationally banned cluster bombs on al- Fallujah.
Eyewitnesses report that American fighter bomber aircraft have bombed the defiant besieged city of al-Fallujah including anti-personnel clusterbombs. Al-Jazeera TV has reported that US fighter bombers were heavily bombing al-Jawlan neighborhood in the city at around 9:45pm Mecca time on Thursday using internationally-banned cluster bombs. There was no further immediate information on the bombing available.
Resistance fighters down four
Thursday evening a
Earlier, eyewitnesses in the city of
al-Fallujah confirmed that the Iraqi Resistance
was able to bring down two
A total of 12 American helicopters
have been shot down over al- Fallujah since the
Resistance knocks out 10
Iraqi Resistance fighters defending
the defiant city of al-Fallujah put at least ten US tanks out of action in various
parts of the city according to the correspondent on the scene for Mafkarat al-Islam (www.islammemo.cc)
website. Residents suspect that the number of destroyed
According to the correspondent, two
tanks were crippled in al-Jawlan neighborhood, five
on the road between Baghdad and al-Fallujah, and
three on the road to al-`Amiriyah. The number of
Report: Resistance rocket attack
on US HDQ kills or wounds
Reports have been circulating that the commander of US military operations in the city of al-Fallujah had been killed or wounded at around 5:30 on Thursday evening when ten Iraqi Resistance rockets slammed into the temporary American headquarters which the US forces had set up among some residential buildings behind the US base that already existed in the area of the city of al-Fallujah, but which had been evacuated three days previous. The Iraqi Resistance apparently launched its attack rockets among various residential buildings.
Circumstantial confirmation of the
reports is grounded in the fact that large numbers of US forces late in the
day began to retreat from areas in the western part of the city - the neighborhoods
of al- Jawlan and ad-Dubbat
which had been major targets of repeated
The report of the
wounding or killing of the
All of al-Fallujah is a target for Marine assaults; 300 Iraqis dead 500 wounded as American aggression continues.
Al-Jazeera satellite TV has reported from the city of al-Fallujah that the entire city has become a target for the weapons employed by and for the US Marine aggressors, with no distinction being drawn between one house and another. According to al-Jazeera the casualty toll among Iraqis continues to mount due to the blockade that has been imposed on the city, and because the US aggressor troops fire on ambulances when they see them and prevent the wounded from getting to medical stations for aid. The medical stations, in turn, are jammed with wounded who have managed to get there, but there is a severe shortage of needed medical supplies.
The correspondent of al-Jazeera
noted that the city soccer field had been turned into a mass grave in which
those killed in the
The correspondent reported medical sources as saying that 300 had died from the US shelling, bombing, and rocketing and some 500 had been wounded - figures that can be taken as semi-offiicial.
Despite bloodshed on such a scale and the deliberate targeting of unarmed civilians and women, children, and the elderly with cluster bombs and sniper bullets which are aimed at heads, Arab and international media and the United Nations are devoting little attention to the brutal assault being mounted on al-Fallujah and the courage of its defiant residents. As one elderly bearded shaykh summed up the spirit of the people of the city, "either life with honor or martyrdom." He added that the people would not surrender even if the blockade should go on for a year.
The American Associated Press admitted early on Thursday that one Marine aggressor had been killed in a gun battle with the Iraqi Resistance that took place in the city of al-Fallujah. It offered no further details.
Humanitarian convoy of Baghdad residents forces its way to al- Fallujah despite US attempts to stop them.
Thousands of Iraqi sympathizers, both Sunni and Shi`ite Muslim, forced their way through US military roadblocks in a bid to bring aid from the capital to the besieged defiant bastion of al-Fallujah. Aggressor troops in armored vehicles attempted to stop the convoy of cars and marchers from reaching the western town where US Marine invaders have met ferocious resistance in a four-day-old offensive against the Resistance.
Some 20 kilometers (12 miles) west of Baghdad, a US patrol was attacked by the Iraqi Resistance defenders of the city just moments before the Iraqi marchers arrived, and armed Resistance fighters could be seen dancing around on two blazing US military vehicles.
Two US Humvees attempted to stop the marchers but were forced to drive off as residents joined the marchers, shouting "Allahu Akbar!" (God is greatest).
US aggressor troops armed with machine guns and backed up by armor again blocked the highway further west, but were forced to let the Iraqis past as they came under a hail of stones.
"No Sunnis, no Shi`ites, yes for Islamic unity," the marchers chanted. "We are Sunni and Shi`ite brothers and will never sell our country." The marchers set off from the Umm al-Qura mosque in west Baghdad where wellwishers donated food, drinks and medicine. They carried portaits of Shi`ite religious leader Muqtada as-Sadr, as well as pictures of Sunni Islamist icon, Shaykh Ahmad Yasin, the spiritual leader of the Palestinian Hamas movement who was assassinated in a Zionist air raid last month.
Resistance forces seize Hadithah
correspondent has reported that US aggressor troops were compelled to withdraw
from the city of Hadithah, west of Baghdad after Resistance forces attacked
and crippled two
Resistance destroys five
British troops flee from al-Basrah.
British occupation forces fled the Iraqi city of al-Basrah on Thursday afternoon, retreating to the outskirts of the city as Shi`ite and Sunni Iraqi Resistance intensified in the city. Two British tanks were set ablaze after Sunset on Thursday and one British soldier was reported killed. The Iraqi puppet police, who in al-Basrah are made up of the Badr Brigades and Hizb ad-Da`wah militias - both tied to Shi`ite collaborator members of the puppet so- called interim governing council - have disappeared from the city as demonstrators in support of Muqtada as-Sadr sweep the streets.
Resistance downs British aircraft over Maysan.
A British reconnaissance aircraft was shot down over al-Majidiyah in Maysan where battles are raging around the scene of the crash, according to a report carried by al-Jazeera. The correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam (www.islammemo.cc) reported that British forces had begun withdrawing from al-Basrah, the city becoming clear of British forces by mid-afternoon Thursday.
Japanese, Dutch occupation headquarters shelled by Resistance.
In the southern Iraqi city of as-Samawah al-Jazeera's correspondent reported eyewitness accounts that the local headquarters of the Japanese and Dutch aggressor forces in that city had come under mortar attack by the Iraqi Resistance. No reports of casualties were available.
Iraqi organization holds Japanese hostages, demands Tokyo withdraw.
An Iraqi organization by the name of
Detachments of the Mujahideen has threatened to kill three Japanese whom they
say they are holding hostage if the Japanese aggressor government does not
order a withdrawal of Japanese forces from
In a statement issued in a video obtained by al-Jazeera, the Detachments of the Mujahideen gave Tokyo three days from the date the video was broadcast to withdraw Japanese invader troops and said that they would kill the three Japanese if no such order were given. The video showed the three surrounded by armed Resistance fighters who also displayed the Japanese' passports to the camera.
Tokyo rejects demand of Detachments of the Mujahideen.
The Japanese government rejected the
demand of the Detachments of the Mujahideen to withdraw
Japanese aggressor forces from
South Koreans held hostage
In Seoul, an unnamed source in the foreign ministry reported that an Iraqi organization was still holding eight south Koreans hostage. One of the Koreans was released. Later in the day it was announced that seven Korean missionaries had been released.
Three explosions reported in Baghdad.
Three explosions were heard, at least
one of which was in the
Puppet police: bomb in Baghdad kills five.
Iraqi puppet police sources in Baghdad report that an explosion took place in a northern district of Baghdad and killed five Iraqis and wounded 18 others. No other information on the nature of the blast were provided by the puppet police.
Sources: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1514&e=31&u=/afp/20040408/wl_mideast_afp/iraq_us_fallujah_demo_040408103955 http://www.islammemo.cc/news/one_news13.asp?IDNews=29256 http://www.islammemo.cc/news/one_news13.asp?IDNews=29255 http://www.islammemo.cc/news/one_news13.asp?IDNews=29254 http://www.islammemo.cc/news/one_news13.asp?IDNews=29250 http://www.islammemo.cc/news/one_news13.asp?IDNews=29253 http://www.islammemo.cc/news/one_news13.asp?IDNews=29251 http://www.islammemo.cc/news/one_news13.asp?IDnews=29206 http://www.islammemo.cc/news/one_news13.asp?IDnews=29210 http://www.islammemo.cc/news/one_news13.asp?IDnews=29231 http://www.islammemo.cc/news/one_news13.asp?IDnews=29234 http://www.islammemo.cc/news/one_news13.asp?IDNews=29236 http://www.islammemo.cc/news/one_news13.asp?IDNews=29244 http://www.islammemo.cc/news/one_news13.asp?IDNews=29247 http://www.islammemo.cc/news/one_news13.asp?IDNews=29241 http://www.aljazeera.net/news/arabic/2004/4/4-8-13.htm http://www.islammemo.cc/news/one_news13.asp?IDNews=29220
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