U.S. forces pull out of Fallujah following a brutal U.S. siege which killed some 600 Iraqis, wounded 1,000 and left some 60,000 people displaced. We go to Fallujah to get a report from Free Speech Radio News’ Aaron Glantz who describes dozens of bodies buried in the city’s soccer stadium after US forces blocked roads heading toward the cemetery.
As the world focused its attention on allegations of torture and human rights abuses of Iraqi prisoners at the hands of U.S. forces, violence and bloodshed continued throughout the country.
A total of 11 U.S. troops were killed in four separate attacks Sunday. A mortar attack on a US base near Ramadi in al-Anbar province killed 6 soldiers and wounded 30, many of them seriously, so that the death toll will probably rise. Another five died in attacks in Baghdad, Kirkuk and Amara.
April marked the bloodiest month in Iraq since the invasion with a total of 136 US soldiers killed and over 1,300 Iraqis.
Meanwhile, the former Iraqi general reportedly chosen to head a new force in Fallujah, Gen. Jasim Saleh, entered the Sunni town with 200 Iraqi peacekeepers Friday after US forces pulled out following weeks of bloody fighting. Masked gunmen in Falluja celebrated the US withdrawal. Marine officers warned they would give Gen Saleh only a few days to disarm them.
Saleh served in Saddam Hussein’s Republican Republican Guard in the 1980s and later headed Saddam’s infantry forces.
But this weekend, Joint Chiefs of Staff chair, Gen. Richard Myers, contradicted officers on the ground by denying that Saleh has been given control of Fallujah. Myers told Fox News that Saleh was still being considered for the position and he did not believe he would pass the vetting process for taking command.
For weeks, Fallujah was under a siege by US troops as reports emerged of a massacre of Iraqis at the hands the US military. US aircraft and artillery reepeatedly bombarded the town. Doctors there say at least 600 people were killed and over 1,000 injured. Local hospitals have reported the majority of the dead are women, children and the elderly. More than 60,000 women and children fled the city during a brief ceasefire but the US blocked any men of military age from leaving. Dozens of bodies have been buried in the city’s soccer stadium after US forces blocked roads heading toward the cemetery.