Little Green Footballs

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Iraqi Fury

The new Iraqi Government is accusing the US Military of a cover-up over the alleged Ishaki massacre. Somebody should remind them of how puppet regimes are supposed to act.

AMERICA'S alliance with the new Iraqi government was plunged into major crisis last night as the country's prime minister and its people reacted with fury to the US military clearing its forces of killing civilians during operations against insurgents.

Iraqi leaders vowed to press on with their own probe into one of the most notorious American raids against extremist fighters, in the town of Ishaqi, rejecting the US military's exoneration of its forces.

Adnan al-Kazimi, an aide to prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, said the government would also demand an apology from the United States and compensation for the victims in several cases, including the alleged massacre in the town of Haditha last year.

The escalation in tensions comes as sources at the Foreign Office confirmed that the British Government is also urging the Americans to co-operate fully with comprehensive investigations into the deaths at both Ishaqi and Haditha.

A report filed by Iraqi police accused US troops of rounding up and deliberately shooting 11 people - including five children and four women - in a house in Ishaqi, before blowing up the building. Video footage revealed by the BBC appeared to show the aftermath of US action in Ishaqi, including a number of dead adults and children with what experts claimed were clearly gunshot wounds.

But following its own inquiries into the Ishaqi operation, the Pentagon enraged Iraqi officials by issuing a statement declaring that allegations that US troops "executed a family ... and then hid the alleged crimes by directing an air strike, are absolutely false".

US spokesman Major General William Caldwell said the US investigation into events in Ishaqi, where the military says it was attempting to capture insurgents, had found no wrongdoing on the part of the troops.

He said troops had been fired on as they raided a house to arrest an al-Qaeda suspect. They returned fire and called in air support, which destroyed the building, killing one militant and resulting in "up to nine collateral deaths".

The military had previously said one guerrilla, two women and a child were killed in the March 15 raid in the town, which is in the US-controlled zone, 60 miles north of Baghdad.

The Americans have repeatedly pledged to punish any soldier found guilty of atrocities in Iraq. But the decision to clear the troops in Ishaqi fuelled deep mistrust among ordinary Iraqis, three years after the US-led invasion to oust Saddam Hussein.

Police in Ishaqi say five children, four women and two men were shot in the head, and that the bodies, with hands bound, were dumped in one room before the house was blown up.

"We have it from more than one source that the Ishaqi killings were carried out under questionable circumstances," al-Kazimi said yesterday. "More than one child was killed. This [US] report was not fair for the Iraqi people and the children who were killed."

Source: Scotland on Sunday

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