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Killing of Iraqi Civilians Index

Killings Database – Year 2006

 

The Massacre of Abu Sifa (Isahaqi)

Background

Media Reports

Military Reports

Photo Credits

 

Background - Isahaqi, March 15th, 2006

 

“The villagers of Abu Sifa near the Iraqi town of Balad had become used to the sound of explosions at night as American forces searched the area for suspected insurgents. But one night two weeks ago Issa Harat Khalaf heard a different sound that chilled him to the bone.

 

“Khalaf, a 33-year-old security officer guarding oil pipelines, saw a US helicopter land near his home. American soldiers stormed out of the Chinook and advanced on a house owned by Khalaf’s brother Fayez, firing as they went.

 

“Khalaf ran from his own house and hid in a nearby grove of trees. He saw the soldiers enter his brother’s home and then heard the sound of women and children screaming.

 

“‘Then there was a lot of machinegun fire,’ he said last week. After that there was the most frightening sound of all - silence, followed by explosions as the soldiers left the house.

 

“Once the troops were gone, Khalaf and his fellow villagers began a frantic search through the ruins of his brother’s home. Abu Sifa was about to join a lengthening list of Iraqi communities claiming to have suffered from American atrocities.

 

“According to Iraqi police, 11 bodies were pulled from the wreckage of the house, among them four women and five children aged between six months and five years. An official police report obtained by a US reporter for Knight Ridder newspapers said: ‘The American forces gathered the family members in one room and executed 11 people.’ […]”

 

Excerpt of a Sunday Times article from March 26th, 2006

Victims of the Abu Sifa massacre

 

Video: BBC Documentary on Abu Sifa/Isahaqi Massacre - Short television documentary from June 2nd, 2006

 

Related Media Reports

 

June 3rd, 2006 - Troops Cleared of Iraq Wrongdoing

1 news article by the BBC News

 

June 2nd, 2006 - New ‘Iraq Massacre’ Tape Emerges

1 news article by BBC News

 

March 26th, 2006 - Iraqis Killed by US Troops ‘on Rampage’

1 news article by the Sunday Times

 

March 20th, 2006 - Iraqi Police Report Details Civilians’ Deaths at Hands of U.S. Troops

1 news article by Knight Ridder

 

March 16th, 2006 - US Raid on Home Killed 11 Family Members

1 news article by Reuters

Military Reports

 

June 3rd, 2006 - Probe Clears Coalition Forces of Wrongdoing in March 15 Raid

News article by the American Forces Press Service

 

“[…] An investigation has concluded that coalition forces ‘operated in accordance with the rules of engagement governing our combat forces in Iraq’ during a March 15 raid in which Iraqi civilians died, a coalition spokesman said early today in Baghdad. Army Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, Multinational Force Iraq spokesman, said that in response to claims that as many as 13 civilians were killed in the raid near Ishaqi, south of Samarra, officials launched an investigation the next day. ‘The investigation revealed the ground force commander, while capturing and killing terrorists, operated in accordance with the rules of engagement governing our combat forces in Iraq,’ Caldwell said.

 

“When ground forces arrived at a house that intelligence reports said was being used as an insurgent safe house, they came under fire from the building, the general said. ‘As the enemy fire persisted, the ground force commander appropriately reacted by incrementally escalating the use of force from small arms fire to rotary wing aviation, and then to close air support, ultimately eliminating the threat,’ he said. ‘Allegations that the troops executed a family living in this safe house, and then hid the alleged crimes by directing an air strike, are absolutely false,’ the coalition spokesman added.

 

“In the subsequent search, the general said, coalition forces documented the discovery Abu Ahmed's body and those of three noncombatants. ‘The investigating officer concluded that possibly up to nine collateral deaths resulted from this engagement, but could not determine the precise number due to collapsed walls and heavy debris,’ Caldwell said, repeating that the investigating officer ascertained the ground force commander properly followed the rules of engagement as he ‘necessarily escalated the use of force until the threat was eliminated.’ […]”

 

War Scenes from Isahaqi

House in Isahaqi after U.S. air raid

Local citizens carry the dead

Religious ceremony for the dead

Photo Credits

Background

1) Dead children of Isahaqi - March 15th, 2006 - Sabah Al-Bazee/Reuters;

2) Man with dead child - March 15th, 2006 - Sabah Al-Bazee/Reuters;

 

War Scenes from Isahaqi

1) Destroyed house - March 15th, 2006 - Sabah Al-Bazee/Reuters;

2) Men carrying dead children - March 15th, 2006 - Sabah Al-Bazee/Reuters;

3) Ceremony for the dead - March 15th, 2006 - Sabah Al-Bazee/Reuters;

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