May 20, 2004

Update on Iraqi wedding party

Interesting update on the Iraqi wedding party that was fired on by a US helicopter a few days ago. I blogged about it here. This report in FoxNews tells of quite a different story: bq. But senior military officials in Washington said U.S. and coalition forces conducted a strike on "anti-coalition vehicles" along the Iraqi-Syrian border. bq. According to the military, at 3 a.m. local time Wednesday, coalition forces conducted an operation against a suspected foreign fighter safe house in the open desert. The house was 25 kilometers from the Syrian border, 85 kilometers southwest of Husaybah, military officials said. bq. Coalition forces came under hostile fire and called for support from the air. After the strike, coalition forces recovered numerous weapons, foreign passports, a SATCOM radio and two million Iraqi and Syrian dinars, military officials said. bq. The attack killed about 40 people, officials said. bq. A Coalition Press Information Center official said that since it was carried out during a raid on a suspected safe house, the air strike would therefore be "within the rules of engagement." bq. That official reiterated that the objective was a suspected hideout, and had no information about a wedding party. Wretchard at Belmont Club has some interesting analyses as well as a timeline of reporting showing the story shifting: bq. Why was a wedding party in full swing at 02:45 am in the middle of the desert? A glance at the map would show the area in which the wedding took place was 250 kilometers from "Dr. Salah al-Ani, who works at a hospital in Ramadi," and who "put the death toll at 45." A long way to go for medical treatment or burial when Qusabayah is 50 kilometers away. Under normal circumstances, there are two wounded for every dead. By the normal ratios there should have been at least 90 injured. There was a videotape of "showing a truck containing bodies of people who were allegedly killed in the incident. Most of the bodies were wrapped in blankets and other cloths, but the footage showed at least eight uncovered, bloody bodies, several of them children. One of the children was headless." A video of the dead, but where were the wounded? Posted by DaveH at May 20, 2004 12:36 PM