Skip to comments.The Iraqi rebels show me their latest victim: a German in a pool of blood
Posted on 04/11/2004 2:37:32 PM PDT by archy
The Iraqi rebels show me their latest victim: a German in a pool of blood
By Lee Gordon
A young Iraqi mujahideen fighter poses in triumph by the smouldering wreck, his face obscured by a red and white kaffiyeh scarf, his high-powered sniper's rifle ready for action.
It is only minutes since a white Japanese 4x4 vehicle was forced off the road and its two occupants, both German, killed in a firefight and their bodies dragged from the vehicle when it burst into flames.
Now, a mile away, I have been brought to the scene of their deaths by the heavily-armed mujahideen rebels who oppose the presence of coalition forces in Iraq but have allowed me to live alongside them for two days.
Yards away, the Tigris coils gently through the green countryside; on another day it might be an idyllic spot for a picnic. Under the blazing sun, however, the victims lie stretched out in a lay-by off the highway. Nearby, six Iraqis are digging their graves.
The identification badge in one victim's wallet shows that he was a 25-year-old German. One side of his face is caked in blood. His body is punctured by bullet holes.
An argument is raging between several young Iraqis and the mujahideen commander, a man in his forties with clear blue eyes who tells me he is a former Iraqi special forces officer.
When one teenager tries to strike a pose with his foot planted on the body, the commander issues a sharp rebuke. He tells them to pull a sheet over the corpse to conceal the fact that it is naked below the waist. He barks more orders before climbing back into his car, cursing the young hotheads.
I hear how the Germans came to die. They had been travelling last Wednesday in a six-vehicle convoy of white 4x4s which had crashed through a mujahideen checkpoint on a highway running between Baghdad and Jordan.
During the ensuing high-speed chase, gunfire erupted between the Iraqis and the convoy. When the Iraqis, using rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire, hit the tyres of the last vehicle it swerved off the road and pulled up by a small building that was once a school. There would be no escape.
Only yesterday did I learn that German officials were still looking for two of their staff who had gone missing on the way from Amman, the Jordanian capital, to the German embassy in Baghdad. According to some German media reports, the men were anti-terrorist commandos, trained in hostage release.
Here in the lawless Sunni Triangle, the mujahideen had been on edge, waiting nervously for US marines to launch a powerful attack in the area in retaliation for the murder of four American security contractors in Fallujah, a hotbed of anti-American resistance west of the Iraqi capital. Even though I was British, and therefore deeply suspect, the mujahideen had agreed to let me live among them in a small town a few miles from Fallujah, giving me a rare insight into their way of life as they braced themselves for American reprisals.
For two days and nights during this intensely dangerous week in Iraq, I lived with the mujahideen in the town of Gharma. I ate with them and talked with them as US marines massed less than a mile away for what seemed to be an inevitable attack. Their fears were realised as the Americans began to pound Fallujah from helicopter gunships and poured troops into the city. Hospital officials claim that 500 Iraqi civilians died in that offensive while American forces estimate they lost 40 men.
A US suspension of hostilities on Friday was called off after 90 minutes. Yesterday, although gunfire rang out sporadically, a second truce lasted longer as Iraqi mediators were given the chance to enter the besieged city.
The mujahideen, many of them grandfathers, shopkeepers, young men and even boys, were at first deeply suspicious of me, a Briton in their midst. They had tailed my car in three battered Japanese saloons, each full of armed and masked men, gunbelts over their shoulders.
My car was stopped, and with my driver I was hooded and bundled into the back of a pick-up truck and taken to a small house. As I stood against a wall at gunpoint, for a moment the world went black. The interrogation began. Who was I? What was I doing in Gharma? Where was my satellite telephone?
They tried repeatedly to trick us into admitting to something we were not - to being spies. But that was hardly surprising. Britons are hated as deeply as Americans by these people.
I answered their battery of questions, about Kuwait, British soldiers in Basra, whether I had been to Israel, whether I was Jewish. My translator, a Palestinian, worked the crowd, persuading them that I was not a spy. Suddenly the ice seemed to crack. Smiles broke out and we were offered a bowl of water, a sign of acceptance.
What was life like among the mujahideen? To this stranger, they were polite, if suspicious; they gave me their food - sometimes from their plates. They laughed rudely at my awkwardness eating with my fingers, yet they hunted for a spoon. They joked at my discomfort squatting on the floor, but found a crate for me to sit on. And when, one night, a deadly attack was expected they insisted on providing an escort to the safer borders of their territory even though they needed every spare man for the battle.
Their only condition was that I reported their side of the story accurately, which I promised to do. So, with a vice-like shake of my hand, the commander agreed to take me under his wing. A promise is a bond, my translator warned. Then he cracked a limp joke about my name, the Chinese and Kung Fu, at which I laughed loudly.
When the commander explained the mujahideen's motivation to me, he said that they would fight the coalition, the Iraqi Governing Council - whose members they denounce as collaborators and placemen - and any of Saddam Hussein's supporters.
"They will be made to leave the country. We do not agree with what happened in Fallujah when the Americans were burned and hung. We will make them surrender or we will kill them. It is simple. But there are so many angry people," he said from his command centre, a one-room outhouse beside a simple bungalow.
The unpainted walls were decorated with two pictures of the black flag of the jihad. Two long, worn sofas lined the walls facing the door and by a small window a metal water jug balanced on a broken three-legged coffee table. "If the enemy surrender, we will secure them and take them out of the country," he added. "If they return they will be killed. We want them to leave Iraq.
"We do not hate the Americans and British, we hate the ideas they have brought here. We will now fight every person who tries to bring those ideas, including the Iraqi Governing Council.
"We do not want their capitalism, we do not want communism. We have our own ideas about how we want our country to be run in a Muslim way. We support the Shia leader Muqtada Sadr, not because of his ideas; they are not good or bad. We are supporting him with money, weapons and men because he is against the Americans."
The mujahideen controlled what little traffic went through the town, a traditional smugglers' haven. Lookouts sat at junctions on the main highway in inconspicuous, battered cars; four men on a couple of old motorcycles scouted, looking for the US forces.
There are half a dozen groups of fighters - each part of a tribe with its own loyalties and leader working under the command of the blue-eyed man. Most spoke proudly of serving the mujahideen.
A 12-year-old boy spoke of helping to launch missiles at US convoys. "It felt powerful standing next to the missiles," he said. "I know it killed Americans - thanks to Allah."
A couple of days later, the American attack was nearly upon them. Early on Friday, troops in Humvees moved cautiously through the streets of Fallujah, announcing by loudspeaker that Iraqis had until sunset to flee the coming onslaught. Thousands fled - grabbing what they could.
The highway out of Fallujah was filled with fleeing families. The elderly, children and pregnant women clung to ancient cars and battered lorries, piled high with belongings. Refugees wandered along, dazed and caked in dust.
This was the last road out. The myriad of lanes and tracks into Fallujah had been slowly cut, one by one, until, by Friday, the US forces had a stranglehold on the city of 250,000 people. The presence of crack airborne troops indicated fighting was about to erupt on its south-west side.
Inside the besieged city, where my driver and I spent two days in a makeshift hospital, the streets were alive with men and boys directing traffic.
At a main junction on the city's outskirts, a man whose face was masked by a kaffiyeh scarf warned us that a sniper had set up a firing zone. Cars and pedestrians crossing the four-lane road risked being picked off. Fifty yards away, a battered Volkswagen had slammed into the kerb - its driver slumped forward over the wheel. He had been shot less than 20 minutes earlier.
Outside the city buses, lorries, ambulances and cars travelled in both directions, seeking to evacuate as many as possible from the city.
At 6pm, my driver and I pulled off the main road in our battered Toyota and spotted a heavily pregnant woman, her husband and mother struggling with baggage. The 19-year-old woman had been walking since 8am. Dehydrated and exhausted, she weaved slowly behind her husband and, when we offered a lift, almost fell into the car.
Their house had been burned almost to the ground after being struck by a mortar bomb. A nearby mosque had also been hit, causing dozens of casualties, said the woman's 32-year-old husband.
Another man, Ali Hussein, a former army officer, said his family had left behind all their possessions. His brother and his brother's family were missing. He would return to Fallujah to join the mujahideen after leaving his family in Baghdad.
Everywhere, we heard the same story. Desperate families, terrified of what was to come, abandoning their homes. Some hoped to reach Baghdad; others hoped to stay with families in nearby villages - now blocked by advancing troops.
Farther down the road, a convoy of ambulances picked its way through the refugees only to run into checkpoints near the Baghdad suburb of Abu Ghraib, where fighting between guerrillas and troops last week had left scores of casualties. Under Saddam, Abu Ghraib was notorious for its brutal prison, where thousands of political prisoners were tortured to death.
Outside the town, US troops had placed checkpoints. Less than 200 yards farther on, the position was reversed. Men with scarves wrapped across their faces, carrying AK47 rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, stood by the road, directing traffic and watching for US scouts.
While many still fled the coming battle, cars and buses that in the morning had ferried women, children and the elderly out of Fallujah now headed in the opposite direction, laden with men, some carrying weapons.
10 April 2004: British hero is killed as Iraq erupts
9 April 2004: Pull out troops or we burn hostages alive
Next story: Kidnappers set deadline for killing hostage
© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2004. Terms & Conditions of reading. Commercial information.
Iraqi newspaper Al Raqeeb displays pictures April 10, 2004 of two men it said the German Embassy in Baghdad had confirmed went missing on April 7 on a road near the volatile Sunni town of Falluja. More foreigners were reported missing or seized as hostages in Iraq after a spate of kidnappings, which included three Japanese civilians under threat of being killed Sunday. Two German security officials were reported missing while traveling from Jordan to Baghdad, the German Foreign Ministry said.
(Reuters - Handout) Reuters - Apr 10 10:31 AM
A young Iraqi mujahideen fighter poses A young terrorist poses....
Stop now and kiss your mother 'hello' in the morning.
Stay, and die.
It's really pretty simple.
The talking heads on TV keep telling us it's all about power and money, and the Iraqis simply have no feeling one way or the other about freedom or democracy.
Then these guys ambush some German embassy people and tell their story to a Brit reporter, and what is that story ~ that they "hate the ideas".
Is it possible "W" is correct and all the talking heads are wrong?
They're looking for circumsized Jews.
THOSE DIRTY SCUM!!!!!!!
These barbarians have a 'thing' about that. They get some kind of 'high' out of exposing dead bodies.
What are their ideas?
How do they propose to promote them?
If they win, it's a terrible civil war between them and their former allies; surely they realize this?
I'm sorry.......this one really got to me.
Rache... But not yet:
Kidnapped Briton freed in Iraq
www.chinaview.cn 2004-04-12 05:21:12
LONDON, April 11 (Xinhuanet) -- A British civilian contractor kidnapped in Iraq has been released after six days of captivity, the British Foreign Office said on Sunday.
"We can confirm Mr Teeley has been released and is safe and well with coalition forces," a spokesman for the ministry told reporters.
Gary Teeley, a 37-year-old father-of-five, disappeared on Monday in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriya, where he was thought to be working.
According to the Foreign Office, Teeley is based in the Middle East as a consultant for a laundry company.
Earlier reports quoted Qatar's Al-Jazeera satellite channel as reporting that Teeley was freed "with the help of Arab tribes in the region" and had been moved to a military base after being released and turned over to coalition authorities.
It was not clear who had kidnapped Teeley or whether a deal hadbeen struck with hostage-takers to secure his release.
Concern is mounting for three Japanese civilians who were captured in Iraq after the news of Teeley's release.
The Japanese are still being held hostage by guerrillas who have reportedly threatened to kill them if Japanese forces are notwithdrawn from Iraq.
Meanwhile, an American security contractor and several other contractors whose nationalities are not known are also reportedly either in the hands of guerrillas or missing.
What is with these people???
Nahhh, That was the Nazis. møøselimbs are circumcised too...
I would love to see this network off the air..
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