Iraqis' Accounts Link Marines to Killings


Hiba Abdullah survived the killings by American troops in Haditha last Nov. 19, but said seven others at her father-in-law's home did not. She said American troops shot and killed her husband, Rashid Abdul Hamid. They killed her father-in-law, Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali, a 77-year-old in a wheelchair, shooting him in the chest and abdomen, she said.

Her sister-in-law, Asma, “collapsed when her husband was killed in front of her eyes,” Ms. Abdullah said. As Asma fell, she dropped her 5-month-old infant. Ms. Abdullah said she picked up the baby girl and sprinted out of the house, and when she returned, Asma was dead.

Four people who identified themselves as survivors of the killings in Haditha, including some who had never spoken publicly, described the killings to an Iraqi writer and historian who was recruited by The New York Times to travel to Haditha and interview survivors and witnesses of what military officials have said appear to be unjustified killings of two dozen Iraqis by marines. Some in Congress fear the killings could do greater harm to the image of the United States military around the world than the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

The four survivors' accounts could not be independently corroborated, and it was unclear in some cases whether they actually saw the killings. But much of what they said was consistent with broad outlines of the events of that day provided by military and government officials who have been briefed on the military's investigations into the killings, which the officials have said are likely to lead to charges that may include murder and a cover-up of what really happened.

 


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