Da The Daily Star del 16/03/2006
Originale su http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_ID=10&article_ID=2...

Iraqi family killed in 'perfect U.S. crime'

Eleven members of an Iraqi family, including five children, were killed in a U.S. raid on Wednesday, police and witnesses said. The U.S. military said two women and a child died during the bid to seize an Al-Qaeda militant from a house. A senior Iraqi police officer said autopsies on the bodies showed each had been shot in the head.

In other development, toppled Iraqi President Saddam Hussein formally took the stand at his trial and urged Iraqis to fight "invaders."

Associated Press photographs showed the bodies of two men, five children and four other covered figures arriving at Tikrit General Hospital accompanied by grief-stricken relatives.

The U.S. military said in a statement its troops had attacked a house in Ishaqi, the town 100 kilometers north of Baghdad, to capture a "foreign fighter facilitator for the Al-Qaeda in Iraq network."

"There was one enemy killed. Two women and one child were also killed in the firefight. The building ... [was] destroyed," the military said, adding the Al-Qaeda suspect had been captured and was being questioned.

Major Ali Ahmad of the Iraqi police said U.S. forces had landed on the roof of the house in the early hours and shot the 11 occupants, including the five children. "After they left the house they blew it up," he said.

Another policeman, Colonel Farouk Hussein, said autopsies had been carried out at Tikrit hospital and found that "all the victims had gunshot wounds to the head."

The bodies, their hands bound, had been dumped in one room before the house was destroyed, Hussein said. Police had found spent American-issue cartridges in the rubble.

"It's a clear and perfect crime without any doubt," he said.

Ishaqi's town administrator, Rasheed Shather, said the town was shocked: "Everyone went to the funeral. We want the Americans to give us an explanation for this horrible crime."

One man who described himself as a relative said one was just seven months old.

"They killed these innocent children. Are these considered terrorists? Is a seven-month-old child a terrorist?" he said angrily, speaking close to the remains of the house.

Bomb blasts killed at least four more people and wounded dozens in Baghdad and north of the capital.

Amid the violence, Saddam warned Iraqis to avoid civil war, otherwise "you will live in darkness and rivers of blood."

"I call on the people to start resisting the invaders instead of killing each other," Saddam told the chamber.

As Saddam began making a political speech, chief judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman began closing his microphone until finally declaring the court closed to the public. The judge later reopened the court.

A heated exchange also erupted between Saddam and Abdel-Rahman, who told him his days as leader were over.

"Don't make a political speech. Now you are a defendant. This is your destiny and your role [as president] is over. Defend yourself and avoid political speeches," he told Saddam.

Saddam responded: "If it was not for politics I would not be here and neither would you."

He called the court a "comedy against Saddam Hussein and his comrades." The trial was adjourned until April 5.

Earlier, Saddam's once-feared intelligence chief Barzan al-Tikriti said his hands were "as clean as Moses'" as he formally took the stand.

He said the former president had a right to punish 148 people sentenced to death after they allegedly tried to assassinate him in 1982 in the mostly Shiite town of Dujail.

The unrest has complicated already tangled negotiations for a broad-based government.

But Iraqi President Jalal Talabani appeared optimistic Wednesday announcing that the country's long awaited next government should be ready by the end of March.

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