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Shotgun wedding

by Adam
Tags: shotgun, wedding
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Adam
#1
May19-04, 05:13 PM
P: 454
US raids Iraqi safe house
From correspondents in Washington
May 20, 2004

PENTAGON officials said they had no information about an air attack that was reported to have killed 40 people celebrating a marriage in a village near the Iraqi-Syrian border.

But US forces raided a suspected safe house for foreign fighters in the open desert near the border, seizing large quantities of currency, foreign passports and sophisticated communications devices, a defence official said.

The official, who asked not to be identified, said the raid occurred at about 3am local time (9am AEST) about 25 kilometres from the Syrian border. The nearest town was Husaybah, the official said.

"During the operation, the coalition forces came under hostile fire, and returned fire," he said.

"Coalition forces on the ground recovered a large amount of Iraqi and Syrian currency, foreign passports and sophisticated communications equipment," he said.

In Dubai, Al Arabiya television said witnesses said an air strike killed 40 Iraqis celebrating a marriage.

http://www.news.com.au/common/story_...5E1702,00.html
Every news agency seems to be carrying this story. Everyone except the USA says it happened. The USA says it never happened.

http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/news/051...q_wedding.html
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/...917681299.html
http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s1111847.htm
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stori.../85873/1/.html
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Adam
#2
May19-04, 05:38 PM
P: 454
Another story on it:
"US planes dropped more than 100 bombs on us," an unidentified man who said he was from the village said on al-Arabiya.

"They hit two homes where the wedding was being held and then they levelled the whole village. No bullets were fired by us, nothing was happening," he added.

The Dubai-based network also showed those who survived digging graves for the numerous men, women and children that died in the raid.

A local police official told AP news agency between 42 and 45 people had died as a result of the US attack.

The US has said it has no knowledge of the alleged attack but says US forces did conduct a raid on a house in the border area. In Baghdad, a US military spokesman said the allegation was being investigated.

In July 2002, an American air strike on an Afghan wedding party killed 48 civilians.

A report released by the US Central Command said the strike was justified because American planes had come under fire.

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exer...0339A14320.htm
Adam
#3
May19-04, 11:13 PM
P: 454
US denial over wedding deaths
By Scheherezade Faramarzi in Baghdad
May 20, 2004

US aircraft have fired on a house in the desert near the Syrian border killing more than 40 people who, according to Iraqi officials, were part of a wedding party.

The US military said the target was a suspected safehouse for foreign fighters from Syria, but Iraqis said a helicopter had attacked a wedding party.

Associated Press Television News footage showed a truck containing bloodied bodies, many wrapped in blankets, piled one on top of the other.

Several were children, one of whom was decapitated. The body of a girl who appeared to be less than five years of age lay in a white sheet, her legs riddled with wounds and her dress soaked in blood.

http://www.news.com.au/common/story_...E31317,00.html
So, there are pictures floating around the AP.

Simon666
#4
May20-04, 06:39 AM
P: 147
Shotgun wedding

Happened in Afghanistan as well, old habits are hard to break.
Mattius_
#5
May20-04, 12:38 PM
P: 136
adam, this story, today, May 20th, is one of the big stories on fox news... Just a heads up...
BoulderHead
#6
May20-04, 12:46 PM
P: n/a
I was expecting a story about a pregnant girl, the fellow who put her in such condition, and the girl's angry father. I think I heard about this story recently, but I don't consider the death of innocents any less significant due to what they were attending.
phatmonky
#7
May20-04, 12:52 PM
P: 1,528
Quote Quote by Simon666
Happened in Afghanistan as well, old habits are hard to break.
I wonder if these people in Iraq were shooting weapons in the air as well.
phatmonky
#8
May20-04, 12:53 PM
P: 1,528
Quote Quote by BoulderHead
I was expecting a story about a pregnant girl, the fellow who put her in such condition, and the girl's angry father. I think I heard about this story recently, but I don't consider the death of innocents any less significant due to what they were attending.
agreed, nor I do find them anymore significant than any soldier over there that is killed.
Simon666
#9
May20-04, 01:08 PM
P: 147
Quote Quote by phatmonky
I wonder if these people in Iraq were shooting weapons in the air as well.
Does that matter?
phatmonky
#10
May20-04, 01:35 PM
P: 1,528
Quote Quote by Simon666
Does that matter?
Such information could lead to avoidance of such events in the future.
Njorl
#11
May20-04, 01:38 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 875
From various news sites linked
"The US planes dropped more than 100 bombs on us," an unidentified man who said he was from the village said on Al Arabiya. "They hit two homes where the wedding was being held and then they levelled the whole village. No bullets were fired by us, nothing was happening," he added.

Iraqis interviewed on the videotape said revelers had fired volleys of gunfire into the air in a traditional wedding celebration before the attack took place. American troops have sometimes mistaken celebratory gunfire for hostile fire.

The area, a desolate region populated only by shepherds, is popular with smugglers, including weapons smugglers, and the U.S. military suspects militants use it as a route to slip in from Syria to fight the Americans. It is under constant surveillance by American forces.
Obviously, the Iraqis in the story can not be taken at their word, since they are contradicting each other. Nor should we accept the US version on faith. We should find out what happened.

It is entirely possible that a mission was run against a gun smuggling operation on the day of a wedding. Gun smugglers have families too. The site was kept under observation, any plans for a large event would draw suspicions. A large number of people converging on a smugglers residence might draw a reaction. As soldiers moved in on what they believe to be a well armed hostile enemy force, gunfire erupts. I'm not saying that is what happened, but it is very possible.

Njorl
Simon666
#12
May20-04, 01:45 PM
P: 147
Quote Quote by phatmonky
Such information could lead to avoidance of such events in the future.
How come? It is tradition in the area and US helicopters fire from a distance away that they cannot be heard from, and the US army knows pretty well it is such a tradition. They could have avoided it if they wanted to instead of being trigger happy.
phatmonky
#13
May20-04, 01:50 PM
P: 1,528
Quote Quote by Simon666
How come? It is tradition in the area and US helicopters fire from a distance away that they cannot be heard from, and the US army knows pretty well it is such a tradition. They could have avoided it if they wanted to instead of being trigger happy.

Fire guns in the air in a war zone, even if it is tradition, is a highly dangerous (and one might argue stupid) thing to do.


they cannot be heard from? The guns they are firing in the air you mean???

Do you really believe that information to the helicopters only comes from the helicopter crew,thus they must hear shots themselves to be aware that someone is firing there?
Simon666
#14
May20-04, 02:22 PM
P: 147
Quote Quote by phatmonky
Fire guns in the air in a war zone, even if it is tradition, is a highly dangerous (and one might argue stupid) thing to do. they cannot be heard from? The guns they are firing in the air you mean????
Sorry, I meant the US helicopters can't be heard from the distance they usually fire away from the target so you can't really say the villagers shouldn't be doing it. They were also on some remote place not far from the Syrian border, not a place like Baghdad, Fallujah, or some other hotbed. So the chance terrorists are holding a tupperware party there exchanging AK47s and RPGs is pretty small, they could have checked out before they decided to blow the place to smithereens.
russ_watters
#15
May20-04, 03:29 PM
Mentor
P: 22,243
Quote Quote by Adam
Every news agency seems to be carrying this story. Everyone except the USA says it happened. The USA says it never happened.
"Everyone," being foreign and domestic news sources as reported by Iraqis. "The US," being the US government, which says not much more than 'we're investigating.' The title of the third report does not correspond to the report: there is no "denial" in the report.
They were also on some remote place not far from the Syrian border, not a place like Baghdad, Fallujah, or some other hotbed. So the chance terrorists are holding a tupperware party there exchanging AK47s and RPGs is pretty small, they could have checked out before they decided to blow the place to smithereens.
The reason it was under investigation in the first place was because it is a place of known terrorist activity.

Anyone considering the possibility that it was both a terrorist safehouse and a wedding (besides Njorl)? Remember, terrorists hide by blending in amongst civilians. Heck, they had a good example in Saddam: he built major military facilities under hospitals and schools, hid tanks in residential neighborhoods and weapons in schools.

Quit it with the rhetoric and look for some real facts before making judgements, guys.
Simon666
#16
May20-04, 03:34 PM
P: 147
Quote Quote by russ_watters
Anyone considering the possibility that it was both a terrorist safehouse and a wedding (besides Njorl)? Remember, terrorists hide by blending in amongst civilians. Heck, they had a good example in Saddam: he built major military facilities under hospitals and schools, hid tanks in residential neighborhoods and weapons in schools.
That happened occasionally, the US occasionally did the same as well, like in a school in Fallujah. When an angry crowd wanted their school back, the US fired in the crowd. I hope you didn't think until now they killed those contractors for no reason or "because they hate freedom" or something like that?
phatmonky
#17
May20-04, 03:51 PM
P: 1,528
Quote Quote by Simon666
So the chance terrorists are holding a tupperware party there exchanging AK47s and RPGs is pretty small,

WE'll have to wait for the full report, however this cracked me up
ptex
#18
May20-04, 04:51 PM
P: 74
Come on? Are you kidding me. I don't think the U.S. needs to make stuff up what would be the point.

"U.S. insists strike hit foreign terrorists
No apologies while Iraqis insist victims were from wedding party

Stringer/iraq / al-Arabiya via Reuters
An Iraqi man looks at the bodies of civilians allegedly killed in a U.S. air raid on a wedding party in Ramadi on Wednesday.
May 19: Iraqis said U.S. forces launched the deadly air assault on a joyful family celebration, but U.S. officials said their troops were fired upon first. NBC’s Ned Colt reports.
Nightly News



NBC News and news services
Updated: 1:37 p.m. ET May 20, 2004BAGHDAD, Iraq - While Iraqis at the scene of a U.S. air strike insisted that some 40 innocent people at a wedding were killed, U.S. military officials remained just as adamant Thursday that the strike targeted, and hit, foreign terrorists.

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“How many people go to the middle of the desert 10 miles from the Syrian border to hold a wedding 80 miles from the nearest civilization?” Maj. Gen. James Mattis, commander of the 1st Marine Division, told reporters in Fallujah. “These were more than two dozen military-age males. Let’s not be naive.”

Asked about witness testimony and footage of children killed or wounded, Mattis said: “I have not seen the pictures but bad things happen in wars. I don’t have to apologize for the conduct of my men.”

U.S. officials have said in the past that some foreign terrorists enter Iraq with their families to avoid suspicion.

The Iraqi accounts stated that a U.S. helicopter fired on the wedding party Wednesday morning in western Iraq. U.S. officials confirmed a strike in that area, but told NBC News that the incident involved an AC-130 warship — not a helicopter — and that the aircraft returned fire after coming under attack.




Local accounts, TV footage
Arab television identified the scene of Wednesday's attack as the village of Makr al-Deeb.

The area is a desolate region populated only by shepherds. It is also popular with smugglers, and the U.S. military suspects that militants use it as a route to slip in from Syria to fight the Americans. Consequently, it is under constant surveillance by U.S. forces.



Lt. Col. Ziyad al-Jbouri, deputy police chief of Ramadi, said 42 to 45 people were killed in the attack, which took place about 2:45 a.m. He said the dead included 15 children and 10 women.

Mourners at the Baghdad funeral of a well-known wedding singer and his musician brother said that the two men were among the dead.

And a member of Iraq’s U.S.-appointed Governing Council said he found it hard to believe the U.S. version of events. “Their story does not look very convincing,” said Mahmoud Othman. “I think they have made a mistake.”

People who said they were guests said the wedding party was in full swing — with dinner just finished and the band playing tribal Arab music — when U.S. fighter jets roared overhead and U.S. vehicles started shining their highbeams.

Worried, the hosts ended the party; men stayed in the wedding tent, and women and children went inside the house nearby, the witnesses said.

About five hours later, the first shell hit the tent. Panicked, women clutching their children ran out of the house, they said.

“Mothers died with their children in their arms," said Madhi Nawaf, a shepherd. "One of them was my daughter. I found her a few steps from the house, her 2-year-old Raad in her arm. Her 1-year-old son, Ra’ed, was lying nearby, his head missing,” he said.

“Where are the foreign fighters they claim were hiding there?" asked Nawaf. “Everything they said is a lie.”

“The U.S. planes dropped more than 100 bombs on us,” added an unidentified man who said he was from the village. “They hit two homes where the wedding was being held, and then they leveled the whole village. No bullets were fired by us. Nothing was happening.”

Associated Press Television News obtained videotape showing a truck containing bodies of people who were allegedly killed in the incident. Iraqis interviewed on the tape said partygoers were firing in the air in traditional wedding celebration and said U.S. troops had previously mistaken celebratory gunfire for hostile fire.

Weapons reportedly recovered
But the coalition described the attack as part of “a military operation against a suspected foreign fighter safe house in the open desert.”

“During the operation, coalition forces came under hostile fire and close air support was provided,” it said. Afterward, “coalition forces on the ground recovered numerous weapons, 2 million Iraqi and Syrian dinar, foreign passports and a (satellite communications) radio.”

Most of the bodies on the APTN videotape were wrapped in blankets and other cloths, but the footage showed at least eight uncovered, bloody bodies, several of them children. One of the children was headless.

“We received about 40 martyrs today, mainly women and children below the age of 12,” Hamdy al-Lousy, the director of Qaim hospital, told the Dubai-based satellite television station Al-Arabiya, which reported that 41 people were killed and 10 injured in the attack. “We also have 11 people wounded, most of them in critical condition.”

Al-Arabiya showed pictures of several shrouded bodies lined up on a dirt road. Men were shown digging graves and lowering bodies, one of a child, into the pits while relatives wept.


‘The pictures ... don’t mesh with what we saw’
Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy director of operations for the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, told NBC News that coalition forces in the vicinity saw no signs of a wedding when they called in the air attack.

“I know the pictures are compelling, but they don’t mesh with what we saw on the ground,” he said.

Kimmitt said Thursday that the strike was "validated by what we found on the ground."

U.S. officials acknowledged that the information was preliminary, however, and they said an investigation was continuing.

Dr. Salah al-Ani, who works at a hospital in Ramadi, put the death toll at 45. Al-Ani said that people at the wedding were firing weapons in the air and that U.S. troops came to investigate and then left. However, he said, helicopters returned and attacked the area, destroying two houses.

The report is reminiscent of an incident in July 2002, when Afghan officials said 48 civilians at a wedding party were killed and 117 others were wounded by a U.S. airstrike in Uruzgan province. An investigative report released by U.S. Central Command said the airstrike was justified because U.S. planes had come under fire.

More deaths
Elsewhere in Iraq, assailants with hand grenades killed a U.S. soldier and wounded three in Baghdad on Thursday, while Spanish troops in the process of withdrawing from the country came under attack from insurgents.

The name of the slain U.S. soldier was withheld pending notification of next of kin. A total of 790 U.S. service members have died since the beginning of military operations in Iraq last year. Of those, 576 died as a result of hostile action and 214 died of non-hostile causes.

In the attack on Spanish troops, one insurgent was killed and another seriously wounded and one Spanish soldier was slightly wounded, the spokesman said.

“This morning a Spanish convoy in the process of withdrawing and on its way to Kuwait suffered an ambush by Iraqi insurgents 30 miles south of Diwaniyah. The insurgents were repelled,” the spokesman said.

The Spanish soldiers were among the last remaining in Iraq from a force of up to 1,400 sent by the previous pro-American government. They had been stationed in a largely Shiite Muslim area of south-central Iraq, including the cities of Najaf and Diwaniyah.

Spain’s month-old Socialist government -- elected three days after March 11 train bombings killed 191 people in Madrid -- is withdrawing the troops, fulfilling a campaign promise made before the railway attacks.

Defense Minister Jose Bono has said the withdrawal will be completed by May 26, but officials say it could be over before then.

NBC’s Scott Foster, Jim Miklaszewski and Norah O’Donnell, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this "


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