Skip to comments.U.S. raids Baghdad slum; 26 Iraqis die (PM Maliki condemns raid into area barred from entry)
Posted on 06/30/2007 10:14:57 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
BAGHDAD - American soldiers rolled into Baghdad's Shiite Sadr City slum on Saturday in search of Iranian-linked militants and as many as 26 Iraqis were killed in what a U.S. officer described as "an intense firefight."
But residents, police and hospital officials said eight civilians were killed in their homes and angrily accused U.S. forces of firing blindly on the innocent. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki condemned the raids and demanded an explanation for the assault into a district where he has barred U.S. operations in the past.
Separately, two American solders were charged with the premeditated murder of three Iraqis, the U.S. military said Saturday. And in Muqdadiyah, 60 miles north of the capital, police said a suicide bomber blew himself up near a crowd of police recruits, killing at least 23 people and wounding 17.
A U.S. soldier was killed Friday and three wounded when a sophisticated, armor-piercing bomb hit their combat patrol in southern Baghdad, the military announced a day later.
The U.S. military said it conducted two pre-dawn raids in Sadr City, killing 26 "terrorists" who attacked U.S. troops with small arms fire, rocket-propelled grenades and roadside bombs. But Iraqi officials said all the dead were civilians.
An American military spokesman insisted all of those killed were combatants. "Everyone who got shot was shooting at U.S. troops at the time," said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver. "It was an intense firefight."
U.S. troops detained 17 men suspected of helping Iranian terror networks fund operations in Iraq, a military statement said. There were no U.S. casualties.
Witnesses said U.S. forces rolled into their neighborhood before dawn and opened fire without warning.
"At about 4 a.m., a big American convoy with tanks came and began to open fire on houses bombing them," said Basheer Ahmed, who lives in Sadr City's Habibiya district. "What did we do? We didn't even retaliate there was no resistance."
According to Iraqi officials, the dead included three members of one family a father, mother and son. Several women and children, along with two policemen, were among the wounded, they said.
The assault brought quick criticism from al-Maliki. "The Iraqi government totally rejects U.S. military operations ... conducted without a pre-approval from the Iraqi military command," al-Maliki said in a statement released by his office. "Anyone who breaches the military command orders will face investigation."
Sadr City is the Iraqi capital's largest Shiite neighborhood home to some 2.5 million people. It is also the base of operations for the Mahdi Army, a militia loyal to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The fighters are blamed for much of the sectarian killing in Baghdad.
Last year, al-Maliki banned military operations in Sadr City without his approval after complaints from his Shiite political allies. But he later agreed that no area of the capital was off-limits, after President Bush ordered reinforcements to Iraq as part of the Baghdad security operation.
Houses, a bakery and some other shops were damaged by U.S. tank fire during the assault, Iraqi officials said. In the Shiite holy city of Najaf, Sheik Salah al-Obaidi, a spokesman for al-Sadr condemned Saturday's raids: "The bombing hurt only innocent civilians."
A policeman wounded in the raid, Montadhar Kareem, said he was on night duty when U.S. troops moved in and "began bombing houses in the area."
"The bombing became more intense, and I was injured by shrapnel in both my legs and in my left shoulder," Kareem said from a gurney at Al Sadr General Hospital.
Hours afterward, a funeral procession snaked through Sadr City. Three coffins were hoisted atop cars.
One resident who goes by the nickname of Um Ahmed, or "mother of Ahmed," stood outside her home as mourners passed by.
"We are being hit while we are peacefully sleeping in our houses. Is that fair?" she cried. The woman gave only her nickname, fearing reprisal.
The U.S. military statement said American troops opened fire on four civilian cars during the assault one that failed to stop at a checkpoint, and three that insurgents were using for cover as they shot at U.S. soldiers.
"Every structure and vehicle that the troops on the ground engaged were being used for hostile intent," Garver said. Some of the 26 dead were in civilian cars, some had been hiding behind cars and others had fired on U.S. troops from nearby buildings, he said.
In the murder case, the two American soldiers are accused of killing three Iraqis in separate incidents, then planting weapons on the victims' remains, the military said in a statement. Fellow soldiers reported the alleged crimes, which took place between April and this month near Iskandariyah, 30 miles south of Baghdad, it said.
The U.S. military on Saturday identified the soldiers as Staff Sgt. Michael A. Hensley from Candler, N.C., and Spc. Jorge G. Sandoval from Laredo, Texas.
Hensley is charged with three counts each of premeditated murder, obstructing justice and "wrongfully placing weapons with the remains of deceased Iraqis," the military said. He was placed in military confinement in Kuwait on Thursday.
Sandoval faces one count each of premeditated murder and placing a weapon with the remains of a dead Iraqi, a statement said. He was taken into custody Tuesday while at home in Texas, and was transferred to military confinement in Kuwait three days later, it said.
Saturday's blast in Muqdadiyah ripped through a crowded market area where Iraqi police recruits were having coffee, police said.
One witness, 30-year-old Abu Omar, said he rushed to the area where his brother has a shop, and saw police loading mutilated bodies into the back of a pickup truck. Fire engines sprayed water onto burning storefronts, and ambulances evacuated the wounded, he said.
At least seven shops were destroyed by the explosion, and the market street soaked with blood, Omar said.
Carry out the raids without any interference. Do the job.
That we are even agreeing not to take out Mookie al Sadr and his merry band of killers is even a much bigger mistake, IMHO.
Maliki needs to be found in the rubble in the aftermath of one of our raids!
In other words, a terrorist safe haven. I'm a little surprised to learn that US operations were barred from operating anywhere. Hopefully, this is a new aggressive trend.
Gee isnt it intresting that the All Propaganda reporting on both Iraq and Afganistan start out today with claims of wanton civilian attacks by Coalition forces
Let see. Both from AP, the same orgnaization that has a number of local stringers it hired sitting in Iraq prisons caught read handed aiding the Insurgents.
Could it be that maybe AP needs to do some house cleaning since it is pretty obviously being used as a propaganda outlet by our foes?
About as effective with that as with managing the rest of his country.
Looks as if Maliki is two-faced and is doesn't want peace.
I think you’re very correct.
Maliki has not been a very good ally. I don’t know why he’s protecting Sadr .. but I can guess.
demanded an explanation for the assault into a district where he has barred U.S. operations in the past.... because the assholes were there. Get a grip, Mr. Leaky. Embrace the suck.
Terrorists are all civilians.
AP, what is this, pure Mookie propaganda?
Who wrote this article a Sadrist?
You got it - It is clear the latest angle the MSM are going to take is to start hyping that virtually all we kill on the battlefield are "Civs".
The MSM is pathetic, disgusting and intellectually empty.
As for Maliki, hopefully he isn't being quoted correctly, or is simply saying this for domestic spin (though even that is becoming BS to swallow at a point)....or he does simply need to STFU....and should be told so in no uncertain terms if that be the case.
Well, this ain't the past. The US forces are under new management.
So al-Maliki is going to investigate Petraeus since Petraeus didn't ask al-Maliki first? Too funny!
SURE! (because Al queda's hideout is there)
Who are these "Iraqi officials?" They should be taken out and shot.
Raids into areas where there are insurgents cannot be bothered with worrying which people are innocent.
If they are innocent they better find a new place to stay.
When the Crap hits the fan anyone in the direction its pointed is going to get manure on them.
He needs to step up and be firm. Sans the BS Shia spin.
per Harry Reid, the dems will start working for a 4 month accelerated pull-out this week, looks like the media is already doing the softening salvos for the latest “surge” by the left to seize defeat from the jaws of victory.
I am 100% for the war against militant islam, whether it be in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Philippines or wherever. I say go get them and give them no quarter. But this is why I cannot stomach President Bush anymore. I am sick to death of reading about American troops being charged with war crimes by our own military. These allegations are just PC bullshit to appease the Iraqi malcontents who really don't want us there in the first place. Bush needs to put an end to this 'war crime' $#it by telling the Iraqi government and General Petraeous that he doesn't want to see one more of his warriors get charged with 'war crimes' or 'murder'. He is the CiC of the military after all. If he doesn't carry the weight to stop these self destructive, obnoxious attacks against our own troops then he needs to get his pardon pen out and use it.
Time to see if the GOP base is as fervently for our warriors down range as they were for a 30 year in the making immigration problem.
Will they shut the phones down of Washington D.C. in support of our warriors giving all 24/7 down range??
Hopefully we will proudly see that our base does...If not, we're no different then the DEMs when the rubber hits the road in terms of guarding our warriors flanks down range...
The areas declared off limits should be the areas leveled.
Oops... we bad.
Anyway, anyone who brings this stuff up is a COWARD, a TRAITOR, and a CUT AND RUN LIBERAL PANSY who just wants to subvert the job our military is doing.
I would advise you in the future to ONLY post on the good our boys are doing, how brave they are, and how they are succeding in
propping up islamofacism, uh, interceding in a 1200 year old civil war no, that is not the right way to say it attempting to impose "democracy" on a hostile theocratic 7th century mentality dang! no, I don't have the right words to say to describe exactly WHAT we are sending our bravest and best for, but you better believe that if we DON'T keep them over there keeping terrorists like Maliki in power, then we will suffer the results of terrorism over here!!! You see, we have to prop up murderous fanatics like Maliki and his happy band of Dawa Jihadists (that is right, they call their Syria operations the "jihadist party" of Dawa), well if we don't keep those terrorists in power, then we will have TERRORISM. Can't you see that? We have to support the terrorists to fight terrorism, and anyone who disagrees with that is a coward, a naive pacifist hippie who just thinks the world's problems can be solved by smoking another bowl, and holding hands while singing Kum bay yah. Ain't it just grand to be a patriotic American fascist conservative nowadays?
How long before we recognize that the Middle East is a festering pustule that will swallow us up long before we "change it?" These people are NEVER going to do anything but hate us with a murderous burning rage. Declare victory (we deposed Sadam, it is their turn to take care of themselves), and get the hell out.
Written by a man whose VERY best friend in the world is a coronel (special forces) in Baghdad, and whose future son in law is on his third tour of duty in Iraq (at 21 years of age).
Let’s just say that Sadr City is in flux and is rosin to the core. Ba da bing.
Bring them home now and let them kill each other like they have done for 1400 years, we won’t let our troops fight, we put the ones who do fight back in prison , and we train and arm the enemy then put them in with our troops ! What a shame . Our marines and soldiers don’t have anyone on their side .
Correction : We put them in prison ,not BACK in prison .
“Its time for the U.S. to take off the “kid gloves” and stop allowing others to tell our forces where they can do their jobs and where they can’t do their jobs.”
I watched this crap in Vietnam and couldn’t agree with you more.
We are making the same damned mistakes AGAIN.
Whether you believe our cause is just or not (I do) this war is being mismanaged horribly.
cnn international is playing this up as us soldiers killed only civilians.
CNNI is more anti american than the BBC...
Arrest Maliki. Who’s in charge here?
.....We are being hit while we are peacefully sleeping in our houses.......
During war, constant vigilance is necessary. Otherwise you die while sleeping.
It's either time to feed Maliki to the dogs and get our own SOB or bring the boys home. PC war fighting is a travesty against our soldiers and national interests.