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A bloody day in Iraq

by Col. Kurtz Thursday, Apr. 01, 2004 at 9:13 AM

"... the horror, the horror." At the Iraqi town of Fallujah resistance fighters ambushed a "coalition forces" SUV with rocket propelled grenades and small arms, killing the four riding in the vehicle. After the guerillas struck and disappeared, the people of Fallujah came out to inspect the aftermath of the attack. The passengers obviously worked for the "coalition forces"... on their bodies were found dog tags, weapons, an American passport and a U.S. Department of Defense identification card. The gathered crowd then pulled the charred corpses from the vehicle... beat and mutilated them, dragged them to the nearest bridge over the Euphrates River, and hung them from it. The masses chanted "Fallujah is the graveyard of Americans!" We can still hear Vice President Dick Cheney's words ringing in our ears, "We'll be greeted as liberators." (AP photo/Sabah Arar)

Iraqis Drag Four Corpses Through Streets

Wed, Mar 31, 2004

Associated Press

By SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press Writer

FALLUJAH, Iraq - Jubilant residents dragged the charred corpses of four foreign contractors — including at least one American — through the streets Wednesday and hanged them from the bridge spanning the Euphrates River. Five American soldiers died in a roadside bombing nearby.

The four contract workers for the U.S.-led coalition were killed in a rebel ambush of their SUVs in Fallujah, a Sunni Triangle city about 35 miles west of Baghdad and scene of some of the worst violence on both sides of the conflict since the beginning of the American occupation a year ago.

It was reminiscent of the 1993 scene in Somalia, when a mob dragged the corpse of a U.S. soldier through the streets of Mogadishu, eventually leading to the American withdrawal from the African nation.

In Baghdad, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said the victims were contractors working with the coalition. He did not say what they were doing in Fallujah. All four were men, said Sgt. 1st Class Lorraine Hill, a coalition spokeswoman.

In one of the bloodiest days for the U.S. military this year, five 1st Infantry Division soldiers died when their M-113 armored personnel carrier ran over a bomb in a separate incident 12 miles to the northwest, among the reed-lined roads running through some of Iraq's richest farmland.

Residents said the bomb attack occurred in Malahma, 12 miles northwest of Fallujah, where anti-U.S. insurgents are active. U.S. Marines operate in the area, but it was unclear whether the slain troops were Marines.

Chanting "Fallujah is the graveyard of Americans," residents cheered after the grisly assault on two four-wheel-drive civilian vehicles, which left both in flames. Others chanted, "We sacrifice our blood and souls for Islam."

Associated Press Television News pictures showed one man beating a charred corpse with a metal pole. Others tied a yellow rope to a body, hooked it to a car and dragged it down the main street of town. Two blackened and mangled corpses were hung from a green iron bridge across the Euphrates.

"The people of Fallujah hanged some of the bodies on the old bridge like slaughtered sheep," resident Abdul Aziz Mohammed said. Some of the corpses were dismembered, he said.

Beneath the bodies, a man held a printed sign with a skull and crossbones and the phrase "Fallujah is the cemetery for Americans."

APTN showed the charred remains of three slain men. Some were wearing flak jackets, said resident Safa Mohammedi.

One resident displayed what appeared to be dog tags taken from one body. Residents also said there were weapons in the targeted cars. APTN showed one American passport near a body and a U.S. Department of Defense identification card belonging to another man.

Witnesses said the two vehicles were attacked with small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades.

Hours after the attack, the city was quiet. No U.S. troops or Iraqi police were seen in the area.

Fallujah is in the so-called Sunni Triangle, where opposition to the U.S. occupation is strong and rebels often carry out attacks against American forces.

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