The New My Lai: American Soldiers Kill Babies and Others in Haditha, Iraq

More US war crimes revealed. I argue that not only soldiers but also those who ordered them into combat should be tried for war crimes. A criminal war orchestrated by a criminal government should have consequences for the perpetrators including the president.

Alleged Marine `massacre’ probed
15 Iraqis reportedly slain after bombing

By Bassem Mroue
Associated Press
Published March 21, 2006

BAGHDAD — The U.S. military is investigating reports that Marines entered homes in western Iraq and shot and killed 15 members of two families–including a 3-year-old girl–after a roadside bomb killed a Marine in November.

The military, which announced Friday that a dozen Marines are under investigation in the Nov. 19 incident, said in a statement Monday that a videotape of the aftermath of the shootings in Haditha, 140 miles northwest of Baghdad, was presented in support of the allegations.

The report on the Marines was published by Time magazine, which this week said it obtained a videotape two months ago taken by a Haditha journalism student that shows the dead still in their nightclothes.

The magazine report mirrored what was told to The Associated Press by residents who described what happened as “a massacre.” Time said the available evidence did not prove conclusively that the Marines deliberately killed innocents.

A military spokeswoman said Monday that the allegations are being taken “very seriously.”

Khaled Ahmed Rsayef, whose brother and six other relatives were killed, said the roadside bomb exploded at about 7:15 a.m. in the Subhani neighborhood, damaging a U.S. Humvee.

A U.S. statement in November described it as an ambush on a joint U.S.-Iraqi patrol that left 15 civilians, eight insurgents and a Marine dead in the bombing and a subsequent firefight. The statement said the 15 civilians were killed by the blast, a claim residents denied.

The residents said the only shooting done after the bombing was by U.S. forces.

“American troops immediately cordoned off the area and raided two nearby houses, shooting at everyone inside,” said Rsayef, who did not witness the events but whose 15-year-old niece says she did. “It was a massacre in every sense of the word.”

Rsayef and another resident, former city Councilman Imad Jawad Hamza, who spoke with hospital officials and residents, said the first house to be stormed was that of Abdul-Hamid Hassan Ali, which was near the scene of the bombing.

Ali, 76, died after being shot in the stomach and chest. His wife, Khamisa, 66, was shot in the back. Ali’s son, Jahid, 43, was hit in the head and chest. Son Walid, 37, died after a grenade was thrown into his room, and a third son, Rashid, 28, died after he was shot in the head and chest, Rsayef and Hamza said.

Also among the dead were Walid’s wife, Asma, 32, who was shot in the head, and their son Abdullah, 4, who was shot in the chest, Rsayef and Hamza said.

Walid’s 8-year-old daughter, Iman, and his 6-year-old son, Abdul-Rahman, were wounded, and U.S. troops took them to Baghdad for treatment.

Rsayef said those killed in the second house were his brother, Younis, 43, who was shot in the stomach and chest, the brother’s wife, Aida, 40, who was shot in the neck and chest while still in bed. Their 8-year-old son, Mohammed, bled to death after being shot in the arm, Rsayef said.

Also killed were Younis’ daughters, Nour, 14, who was shot in the head; Seba, 10, who was hit in the chest; Zeinab, 5, shot in the chest and stomach; and Aisha, 3, who was shot in the chest. Hoda Yassin, a visiting relative, also was killed, Rsayef and Hamza said.

The only survivor from Younis’ family was his 15-year-old daughter, Safa, who pretended she was dead.

The troops then shot and killed four brothers who were walking in the street, Rsayef and Hamza said. U.S. troops also shot dead five men who were in a car near the scene, Hamza and Rsayef said.

According to the Defense Department, the Marine who was killed near Haditha was Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas, 20, of El Paso, Texas.

Dr. Walid al-Hadithi, chief physician at Haditha General Hospital, said that on the day of the attack, two U.S. Humvees arrived at the hospital carrying the bodies of men, women and children.

“They [the Marines] told me the women and children were shot in their homes, and they added that the men were saboteurs,” al-Hadithi said.

Time magazine said its investigation showed that walls and ceilings in both houses were pockmarked with shrapnel and bullet holes. The video did not show any bullet holes on the outside of the houses–holes that might support the military report of a gun battle.

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