Wednesday, April 20, 2005

More on the crisis that, wasn' was...

In a post a few days ago, I pointed to the many conflicting stories about the hostages taken in Madaen. Now the president of Iraq, Jalal Talabani, has said this:

"Terrorists committed crimes there. It is not true to say there were no hostages. There were. They were killed, and they threw the bodies into the Tigris," Talabani said. "We have the full names of those who were killed and those criminals who committed these crimes."

The Iraqi Government says that 50 bodies have been pulled from the Tigris. Meanwhile there were reports of a slaughter at a stadium as well:
In Haditha, taxi drivers Rauf Salih and Ousama Halim said they rushed to the stadium after hearing gunshots and found the bodies lined up against a wall. The reporter and other residents counted 19 bodies and said all appeared to have been shot.

Residents said they believed the victims - all men in civilian clothes - were soldiers abducted by insurgents as they headed home for a holiday marking the birthday of the prophet Muhammad.

The reporter did not see any military identification documents on the bodies and it was not possible to verify the claim, which may have been based on a previous incidents, including one in October when insurgents ambushed and executed about 50 unarmed Iraqi soldiers as they were heading home from a U.S. military training camp northeast of Baghdad.

U.S. forces had no report of any killings at the stadium. Iraqi military officials also had no information on the matter.
Take note of the last sentence. Funky stuff indeed. We'll have to wait and see how it all shakes out, I guess. Yet another reminder of how little we (and the press) know about the reality on the ground over there.

Update: More details from Guardian/South Africa:
Fifty-seven bodies of men, women and children have been recovered from the Tigris river in Iraq, near Suwayrah, about 40km south of Baghdad, police said on Wednesday.

"The decomposing bodies were recovered from the banks of the river between Al-Wahda and Al-Hafriya," a police lieutenant colonel based in Suwayrah said. It was not immediately known how they had died.

"The bodies were buried in a cemetery some 3km west of Suwayrah after police took pictures of the victims," he added.

The area where the bodies were found is about 32km downriver from Madain, where unconfirmed reports last weekend said Shi'ite hostages were taken by rebel Sunnis. Iraqi officials later denied there had been any hostage-taking.
The butchers of Iraq are every bit as lethal and evil (that's right, I used the word) as the SS.

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