News and opinions on situation in Iraq
10/11/04 Falluja – All the Makings Of A War Crime By Tony Kevin

Falluja, which has become a symbol of Sunni-Iraqi political resistance to the occupiers, is to be made an example of, to deter others. The message the siege of Falluja sends is brutally simple: resist us and we will destroy you.

It is the same message that the Wehrmacht sent in Warsaw in 1944, and the Russian Army in Grozny in 1999.


'Scores of civilians' killed in Falluja

Tuesday 09 November 2004, 23:01 Makka Time, 20:01 GMT Residents say scores of civilians have been killed

Muhammad Abbud said he watched his nine-year-old son bleed to death at their Falluja home, unable to take him to hospital as fighting raged in the streets and bombs rained down on the Iraqi city.

In the midst of a US onslaught and hemmed in by a round-the-clock curfew, he said he had little choice but to bury his eldest son, Ghaith, in the garden.

“My son got shrapnel in his stomach when our house was hit at dawn, but we couldn't take him for treatment,” said Abbud, a teacher. “We buried him in the garden because it was too dangerous to go out. We did not know how long the fighting would last.”

Residents say scores of civilians have been killed or wounded in 24 hours of fighting since US-led forces pushed deep into the city on Monday evening.

Doctors said people brought in at least 15 dead civilians at the main clinic in Falluja on Monday. By Tuesday, there were no clinics open, residents said, and no way to count casualties.

Medical supplies low

US and Iraqi forces seized control of the city's main hospital, across the Euphrates river from Falluja proper, hours before the onslaught began.

US forces have been steadily moving deeper into the city

Overnight US bombardments hit a clinic inside the Sunni Muslim city, killing doctores, nurses and patients, residents said. US military authorities denied the reports.

Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said troops detained 38 fighters entrenched at Falluja Hospital and accused doctors there of exaggerating civilian casualties.

Sami al-Jumaili, a doctor at Falluja Hospital, said the city was running out of medical supplies.

“There is not a single surgeon in Falluja. We had one ambulance hit by US fire and a doctor wounded. There are scores of injured civilians in their homes whom we can't move,” he said by telephone from a house where he had gone to help the wounded.

“A 13-year-old child just died in my hands.”

Families flee

Weekend air raids destroyed a clinic funded by an Islamic relief organisation in the centre of Falluja and a nearby warehouse used to store medical supplies, witnesses said.

Many families fled the city of 300,000 long before the offensive began. An official from a Sunni Muslim group with links to some fighters in Falluja said on Monday only about 60,000 people remained.

Residents say they have no power and are using kerosene lamps at night. They say they keep to ground floors for safety. Food shops have been closed for six days.

Residents say there is no power and food supplies are running low “My kids are hysterical with fear,” said Farhan Salih. “They are traumatised by the sound but there is nowhere to take them.”

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Monday he did not foresee large numbers of civilian casualties in the assault, saying US forces were disciplined and precise.

Those words were of little comfort to the Abbud family, sitting in a house damaged by the bomb that killed their child.

“We just bandaged his stomach and gave him water, but he was losing a lot of blood. He died this afternoon,” said Abbud.

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