Sunday, November 21, 2004

As U.S. Forces Raided a Mosque

As U.S. Forces Raided a Mosque BAGHDAD - An eyewitness commentary to IPS through a U.S. raid on a Baghdad mosque Friday gives a vivid picture of what a 'successful raid' can be like.

U.S. soldiers raided the Abu Hanifa mosque in Baghdad during Friday prayers, killing at least four and wounding up to 20 worshippers.

At 12:30 pm local time, just after Imam Shaikh Muayid al-Adhami concluded his talk, about 50 U.S. soldiers with 20 Iraqi National Guardsmen (ING) entered the mosque, a witness reported.

”Everyone was there for Friday prayers, when five Humvees and several trucks carrying INGs entered,” Abu Talat told IPS on phone from within the mosque while the raid was in progress. ”Everyone starting yelling 'Allahu Akbar' (God is the greatest) because they were frightened. Then the soldiers started shooting the people praying!”

Talat said he was among a crowd of worshippers being held back at gunpoint by U.S. soldiers. Loud chanting of 'Allahu Akbar' could be heard in the background during his call. Women and children were sobbing, he said.

”They have just shot and killed at least four of the people praying,” he said in a panicked voice. ”At least 10 other people are wounded now. We are on our bellies and in a very bad situation.”

Talat gave his account over short phone calls. He said he was witnessing a horrific scene.

”We were here praying and now there are 50 here with their guns on us,” he said. ”They are holding our heads to the ground, and everyone is in chaos. This is the worst situation possible. They cannot see me talking to you. They are roughing up a blind man now.” He evidently could talk no further then. (Video, Story Updates)

IPS, civil society's leading news agency, is an independent voice from the South and for development, delving into globalisation for the stories underneath.
The core activity of IPS is a global news agency producing independent news and analysis about events and global processes affecting the economic, social and political development of peoples and nations, especially in the South. IPS is the news agency of Civil Society and the South, Development Issues, The Globalisation Process and of the People Excluded from It.

The flagship World Service of the agency presently covers over 120 countries. The service is produced in English and Spanish, with selected stories translated into French, German, Finnish, Dutch, Swedish, Japanese, Portuguese, Thai, Mandarin, Nepali and Kiswahili. The daily output is currently around 112000 words.


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