Iraqi-U.S. Raid Near Falluja Leaves 7 Dead
By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS and DURAID ADNAN
Four of the dead were brothers between the ages of 10 and 18, according to the Iraqi police and residents of the area.
Of the approximately 50,000
It is not clear whether the dead were the targets of the raid or how they were killed. Four other people were wounded during the operation, the police said.
There were stark differences between the American military’s description of the raid and the one supplied by villagers.
Maj. Rob Phillips, a spokesman for the United States military in Iraq, said a joint Iraqi-American unit had been seeking a senior leader of an Iraqi insurgent group, Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, who was believed responsible for a number of attacks in Sunni-dominated Anbar Province, in western Iraq. The major said the American forces were acting as advisers while the Iraqis tried to serve an arrest warrant.
The Iraqi police said the raid started about 1 a.m. Wednesday, with at least four American helicopters providing support. Major Phillips said the troops came under fire as they approached the suspect’s house and shot back, killing four suspected insurgents — he said he did not know their ages — and wounding three others. Two residents of the village who came out of their homes with weapons were also fatally shot by the troops, he added.
Major Phillips said he did not know whether the Americans fired their weapons or whether the suspected Qaeda leader was captured or killed, or had escaped. Officials in
In addition to the four brothers who were killed, police officials said that a man who had been a colonel in the Iraqi Army under Saddam Hussein had also died. The police officials said they believed that the man, whose identity was not released, might have been the original target of the raid.
Local residents described a far different scene, one of chaos and fear as American soldiers and Iraqi security officers moved through the area in the darkness. They accused the Iraqis of firing indiscriminately, often at people who represented no threat.
“I was sleeping when I was awakened by gunfire and explosions,” said a resident who would give only his first name, Muhammad, because he feared reprisal from Iraqi security. “I went out to see what was happening and they shot at me. They missed, but I went back inside and stayed there.”
Iraqi police officers, who said they had been barred from taking part in the raid but raced to the scene after it began, said the commandos took four of the seven bodies before they departed about 7 a.m.
Near the northern city of
Iraqi employees of The New York Times contributed reporting from Anbar and
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