New Ishaqi controversy set off by US air raid

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Sunday, December 10, 2006


In December 2006 the United States military conducted an air raid on Ishaqi, a village northwest of Baghdad. U.S.-led coalition forces said they were looking through several buildings near Lake Tharthar, in the province of Salahuddin, when Al Qaeda linked militants launched an attack. The U.S. military then said coalition troops returned fire, killing two of the insurgents. As the firefight continued, troops called in the contentious air strikes. The U.S. military said 20 al-Qaeda insurgents, including two women, were killed in the raid.

Local officials in Jalameda claimed there were actually 17 victims and that they included five men, six women, and five children. Locals of the area claiming to be relatives showed the children's bodies to journalists and Al Jazeera claimed to have exclusive footage that confirms children were among the victims of the US air raid.

Iraqi reaction included mourners firing into the air overnight as they buried the victims of the raid. Hundreds of chanting residents of Jalameda marched through Ishaqi overnight firing shots and carrying banners that read: "The people of Ishaqi condemn the mass killing by the occupation forces". Adnan al-Dulaimi, head of the largest Sunni political bloc in parliament, said, "We ask the Americans to be merciful. They kill civilians alleging they are terrorists. Ishaqi is a catastrophe."

The Agence France Presse news agency passed its own photographs of the dead children to Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Garver, a US military spokesman, asking for an explanation on the latest allegations. Garver replied, "We've checked with the troops who conducted this operation - there were no children found among the terrorists killed." Garver continued, "I see nothing in the photos that indicates those children were in the houses that our forces received fire from and subsequently destroyed with the air strike."

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