Iraqis Blame U.S. For Deaths Of 8 Backing American Effort

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
New York Times
February 17, 2008
Pg. 12
By Alissa J. Rubin
BAGHDAD — Leaders in two Iraqi villages denounced American troops on Saturday for what they described as the killings of an Iraqi family and three other people who were working with the Americans against the insurgents.
In one of the villages, Zab, nearly 1,000 mourners flocked Saturday to the funeral of family members of a sheik who died in an attack there. T American military has denied having operations in the area at the time.
At least five people were killed there Thursday night.
In the other village, Jurf al Sukr, a number of Iraqi guardsmen quit Saturday to protest the killings. The America military said it was investigating, but indicated that its troops had been fired upon and returned fire.
Three people were killed there early Friday.
The killings were the latest in a series of claims of mistaken attacks by American forces on the informal Iraqi allies known as Awakening Councils. In some of these cases, it remains unclear precisely what happened.
The American military has acknowledged the accidental killings of more than 25 people in Taji in November, and several members of an Awakening group near Iskandariya this month.
In a disputed case, six men who were said to be Awakening Council members and two women were killed near Raween in Salahuddin Province early Thursday. The Iraqi police and the American military say the Americans were fired on first.
The Awakening Councils are locally organized so it is often difficult to verify someone’s membership from a distance.
There were varying accounts of the killings in Zab, which is in the rough mountainous area that stretches between Mosul, Kirkuk and Bayji in northern Iraq. However, a sheik who lived next door to the family who was attacked said five people had been killed there and 13 arrested.
The sheik, Kudair al-Jubori, said that after dinner, his neighbor’s daughter “went out of her house and was shot by a sniper in the head, leg and stomach.”
“She screamed, and her 11-year-old daughter heard her mother, and she ran to her and got shot, too,” Sheik Jubori said. “Then the woman’s brother-in-law, who was 40 years old, came out and he was killed.”
Soon after, the woman’s uncle emerged carrying a gun and was killed. A fifth person was killed as well, Sheik Jubori said.
The dead woman’s husband had been killed previously by insurgents, he said.
He added, “They could have warned the locals with loudspeakers that they are Americans and came to chase terrorists and not treat locals as if they were terrorists or crooks.”
Local leaders said that as the community gathered Saturday to mourn the dead, American officers came to apologize.
“As the Americans approached the mourners, those who were grieving wore expressions of sadness and hatred,” said Sheik Muhammad Abdullah al-Jubori, a retired English teacher. “I was afraid that some of them might attack the coming force, or even refuse to receive them. But since we are antiterrorism warriors, and in order to prove our good intentions, we were patient and used dialogue and understanding, but in a hard, upset and angry language.”
The villagers said the soldiers came from a base near Hawija, west of Kirkuk.
Jurf al Sukr, where the three Awakening members were killed, is in Babil Province, about 30 miles south of Baghdad. The Americans said they had returned fire there; however, they seemed unaware that there had been an Awakening Council checkpoint there.
Abu Abbas, a policeman in Mussayib, a nearby town, said the bodies from Jurf al Sukr were brought there early Saturday “riddled with bullets.”
He said they were wearing clothing that identified them as Awakening Council members. In many places, Awakening members wear bright orange vests.
Anwar J. Ali contributed reporting from Baghdad, and Iraqi employees of The New York Times from Kirkuk and Hilla.