American soldiers stormed into Sajid Kadhum Bouri al- Bawi’s house three hours after midnight on May 17, breaking two doors and rousing the dozen children who live there.
An hour later, family members recalled, the soldiers led a hooded man from the house and told the family they were arresting Bawi. Only after the soldiers left with what appeared to be a prisoner did Bawi’s brother find his bloodied body, shot five times and stuffed behind a refrigerator underneath a pile of mattresses.
The US Army is investigating the shooting, and admits that Bawi was shot and killed by an American when, according to the soldiers involved, he tried to seize a soldier’s weapon.
Bawi’s slaying during the kind of routine night raid that is the military’s bread-and-butter counterinsurgency tactic raises questions about the control and supervision of soldiers on those raids, and the reliability of the local informants whose tips are often behind the arrest lists.
The events described by family members are chilling: They say Bawi was killed in his mother’s bedroom during an interrogation, while soldiers banged on metal doors to dull the sound of the shots..