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2004-04-13

Fallujah Refugees Describe Horrors of U.S. Siege

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We get a report from Baghdad with Free Speech Radio News’ Aaron Glantz who speaks with Fallujah residents fleeing the besieged town. They describe digging mass graves, snipers and bombers killing people inside their homes, attacks on ambulances and the increasing anger and resentment towards U.S. occupying forces. [includes rush transcript]

The new Intifada in Iraq has wrested control from the occupying U.S. forces and thrown the country into chaos. U.S. soldiers are coming under daily attack throughout Iraq and the number killed since the beginning of the invasion has jumped to 665.

The number of Iraqis killed this month alone is much higher. The streets are not safe for anyone with soldiers, military contractors, journalists and aid workers alike at risk of being attacked or kidnapped.

  • Aaron Glantz, Free Speech Radio News. Report filed from Baghdad.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AARON GLANTZ: Speaking from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, the President of the United States, George W. Bush told reporters, American soldiers have acted against, quote, lawlessness and gangs in Iraq in the past week. The American Theater Commander in Fallujah told Britain’s "Guardian" newspaper, 95% of those killed in the assault on the city are armed militants. That’s not the story coming from Fallujah’s temporary emergency clinics. This Baghdad doctor has spent most of the last week in Fallujah. His name is being withheld for his own safety.

UNNAMED BAGHDAD DOCTOR: We have seen a child, five years old, with no head that you can see. When you see a child with no brain, just opened cavity, what you can say? Or when you see a mother just hold her child, her infant, with no head, and the shells all over her body.

AARON GLANTZ: So many Fallujians have been killed about the U.S. Marines that the residents have resorted to digging mass graves. The city’s football stadium holds more than 200 dead bodies.

UNNAMED BAGHDAD DOCTOR]: We buried many in the stadium football. It’s full now. But the problem is, how are you burying, you cannot stand in the football stadium for a long time, because they will shoot on you. So, we use shovels just to make a hole — a big hole, and we just put the people from one family one over the other, and cover them with sand or — and just go out from there.

AARON GLANTZ: The official number killed in Fallujah is 600. But the total number of civilian casualties is likely much higher. The official tally only reflects those deaths reported by the city’s mosques and clinics. But American snipers and bombers have killed many people while they are inside their homes. Businessman Humza al-Humza comes from a prominent Fallujian family. He says two of his cousins were killed and five injured when an American warplane bombed their house. He says after two days his family members lay dead still in the living room.

HUMZA AL-HUMZA: Two days. Spent two days, and he will look for them in the garden. Maybe he will put them in the garden now. Because they don’t have a place. If you are going outside, maybe you will be killed. Everybody going outside of his house, the military — of the army of the Americans, maybe they will kill him. You know? You are living with two guys who are killed.

AARON GLANTZ: The doctor says his ambulance was attacked multiple times as it sought to bring aid to residents stranded in their homes. Once when it was trying to retrieve dead bodies for burial and a second time when it was attempting to bring food aid to homes cut off by American snipers.

HUMZA AL-HUMZA: I see people waving white flag and yelling for us, trying to see if we are here, just trying to save us. We cannot save them. Whenever we open the ambulance, they will shoot us. We are trying to carry them food or water by containers. As soon as we put the container on the street to push to them, the snipers shoot at the container of food. The driver with me was just shooting. I left the family with no food and water until now.

AARON GLANTZ: Businessman Humza al-Humza says George Bush has made an enemy of every Iraqi person.

HUMZA AL-HUMZA: No work for everybody, no electricity, no clear water. Now, many people came from Fallujah. They said to me, there are many pumping from the airplane, from helicopters, from the army. Is that war with the people or the majority?

AARON GLANTZ: In Fallujah, the city is in full revolt as residents gather inside a neighborhood mosque, fighters gather outside ready to fight the U.S. Marines. One is only 11 years old. In nearby Abu grave, Amar Abuzav and his family of fifty-eight have taken shelter in a relative’s house. The family had gathered in Fallujah from all over Iraq before a wedding before the bombing began.

AMAR ABUZAY: This is my daughter who was getting married to my nephew. We had to celebrate that. We called it a challenged wedding celebration. There was another wedding celebration broadcast by Al-Jazeera during the time of the bombing. Last night, after the wedding, when we got out of Fallujah on the road back, one of our women was pregnant and she started to give birth. So, we couldn’t take her to a hospital. She gave birth in the car. A son was born and we named him Mujahad or a holy warrior. And I asked God that he would be a Mujahad.

ARON GLANTZ: For Democracy Now!, I’m Aaron Glantz in Baghdad in Iraq.

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