Saturday, November 20, 2004

AP Photographer Escapes Fallujah, Witnesses U.S. Attacks on Civilians

AP Photographer Escapes Fallujah, Witnesses U.S. Attacks on Civilians: "BAGHDAD (AP) In the weeks before the crushing military assault on his hometown, Bilal Hussein sent his parents and brother away from Fallujah to stay with relatives. The 33-year-old Associated Press photographer stayed behind to capture insider images during the siege of the former insurgent stronghold.

'Everyone in Fallujah knew it was coming. I had been taking pictures for days,' he said. 'I thought I could go on doing it.'

In the hours and days that followed, heavy bombing raids and thunderous artillery shelling turned Hussein's northern Jolan neighborhood into a zone of rubble and death. The walls of his house were pockmarked by coalition fire.

'Destruction was everywhere. I saw people lying dead in the streets, wounded were bleeding and there was no one to come and help them. Even the civilians who stayed in Fallujah were too afraid to go out,' he said. 'There was no medicine, water, no electricity nor food for days.'

By Tuesday afternoon, as U.S. forces and Iraqi rebels engaged in fierce clashes in the heart of his neighborhood, Hussein snapped. 'U.S. soldiers began to open fire on the houses, so I decided that it was very dangerous to stay in my house,' he said. "


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