With Ali Fadhil
FALLUJAH - It could be called perhaps just another raid.
Early in the morning on Sunday, June 18, U.S. military helicopters landed near
the home of Sinan Abdul-Ilah al-Mashadani in the al-Jughaifi district of Fallujah.
Within two minutes the doors of his home were blasted open and "a strange
looking group of people" stormed inside, according to Said Walid Ahmed,
a 40-year-old teacher who lives in the neighborhood.
"This force is not totally unknown to us here in Fallujah," Ahmed,
who witnessed the incident from a nearby house told IPS. "They are a special
force of Americans that assassinates more people than it arrests."
Ahmed described the force from the helicopters as "big men with long hair
and beards, some wearing earrings, and others with little black caps on the
top of their heads at the back."
Sinan Abdul-Ilah al-Mashadani, who was a student at al-Mustansiriya University
and the sole supporter of his mother and younger brother and sister, was killed
in the raid, apparently by a special operations team supported by the U.S. military,
according to witnesses.
"Their [special forces troops'] dogs were biting everybody, including
children and women in the neighborhood," Um Amar, a 63-year-old woman who
lives three houses away from Sinan, told IPS. "They killed the poor boy
in cold blood and arrested his little brother." She burst into tears and
began to pray.
Another neighbor, Jassim al-Jumaily, said Sinan's father Najim Abdul-Ilah al-Mashhadani
was killed during Operation Phantom Fury in November 2004 when his house was
bombed by U.S. warplanes.
The U.S. military assault on Fallujah then destroyed most of the city and killed
between 4,000 and 6,000 people, according to Monitoring Net of Human Rights
in Iraq (MHRI), an Iraqi non-governmental organization based in Fallujah.
Sinan took responsibility for his family after the death of his father, Jumaily
said. "He had to work and study at the same time. We did not notice any
abnormality in his behavior at all. When the helicopters came, we never thought
Sinan would be the target, because we realize they only come after big personalities
from al-Qaeda or leaders in the Iraqi resistance."
Jumaily said the long-haired bearded men from the special force "blasted
the doors of Sinan's house open as if they were attacking an army headquarters."
People in the neighborhood said they heard some of what was going on. "The
screaming of Sinan's mother and sisters was frightening," Jumaily said.
"All we could do was pray for their safety, trying to comfort each other
that the worst possibility was that they would arrest Sinan."
After the men had been inside the house for three hours Jumaily and other witnesses
said they heard Sinan's mother wailing, and saw the men leave with Amin, her
13-year-old son who was being beaten by the men and bitten by their dogs as
he was taken away.
Many of the neighbors then went to Sinan's home, and found his body, covered
with sheets and mattresses. There was a pool of blood on the floor, some was
splattered on the walls.
"Three days after his detention, Amin was released," said Muhamad
al-Deraji, director of MHRI. "The left hand of this orphaned child was
bitten three times, and is now scarred and deformed."
The U.S. forces also raided other homes in the area, Deraji said. "One
of the dogs attacked a woman who tried to protect her baby. The dog bit the
Deraji said the forces looted money and jewelry from several of the houses
IPS sent an e-mail to Major Douglas Powell at the Combined Press Information
Center for the Multi-National Force in Iraq to request comment on the incident.
There was no reply.
Later, IPS phoned the U.S. military spokesperson in Baghdad to request information
on the incident. The spokesman, who declined to give his name, said "we
have no information confirming this event ever took place."
(Inter Press Service)