Wikileaks Cable on US Troops' Murder of Iraqi Family in Ishaqi
In Iraq in 2006, U.S. soldiers herded 11 members of a family into a room, including a 75 year old woman and five children, handcuffed them, and shot them point blank.
The story was widely reported in 2006 (we covered it here, and even I gave the soldiers the benefit of the doubt as to whether they shot the kids at point-blank range -- silly me.)
A newly released cable from Wikileaks (available here) authored by Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, a few weeks after the killings, recounts the original police report of the killings stating that the family was handcuffed and shot at close range. The cable says soldiers then called in an airstrike to bomb the house and destroy the evidence.
The U.S. had maintained that the soldiers raided the house after getting a tip that a member of al-Qaida was at the house. The U.S. said a fierce gunfight ensued that left the house in a rubble and a few people, including the al qaeda suspect, dead. It refused to conduct a further investigation. [More...]
According to the U.S. account, the house collapsed because of the heavy fire. When U.S. forces searched the rubble they found one man, the al-Qaida suspect, alive. He was arrested. They also found a dead man they believed to be connected to al-Qaida, two dead women and a dead child.
...."We're concerned to hear accusations like that, but it's also highly unlikely that they're true," he said. He added that U.S. forces "take every precaution to keep civilians out of harms' way. The loss of innocent life, especially children, is regrettable."
The original police report on the killings is quoted here. It was signed by Staff Colonel Fadhil Muhammed Khalaf, Assistant Chief of the Joint Coordination Center.
At 230 of 15/3/2006, according to the telegram (report) of the Ishaqi police directorate, American forces used helicopters to drop troops on the house of Faiz Harat Khalaf situated in the Abu Sifa village of the Ishaqi district. The American forces gathered the family members in one room and executed 11 people, including 5 children, 4 women and 2 men, then they bombed the house, burned three vehicles and killed their animals (map coordinates 098702).
At the time, the U.S. would not reveal which units were involved in the raid. I don't know if their identities have been released since then.
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