The London Times reports, as residents of the brutalized city of Fallujah begin to emerge after their liberation by American troops:
Mutilated bodies dumped on Fallujah’s bombed out streets today painted a harrowing picture of eight months of rebel rule.
As US and Iraqi troops mopped up the last vestiges of resistance in the city after a week of bombardment and fighting, residents who stayed on through last week’s offensive were emerging and telling harrowing tales of the brutality they endured.
[A] poster in the ruins of the souk bears testament to the strict brand of Sunni Islam imposed by the council, fronted by hardline cleric Abdullah Junabi. The decree warns all women that they must cover up from head to toe outdoors, or face execution by the armed militants who controlled the streets.
Two female bodies found yesterday suggest such threats were far from idle. An Arab woman, in a violet nightdress, lay in a post-mortem embrace with a male corpse in the middle of the street. Both bodies had died from bullets to the head.
Just six metres away on the same street lay the decomposing corpse of a blonde-haired white woman, too disfigured for swift identification but presumed to be the body of one of the many foreign hostages kidnapped by the rebels.
Such is the fear that the heavily armed militants held over Fallujah that many of the residents who emerged from the ruins welcomed the US marines, despite the massive destruction their firepower had inflicted on their city.
A man in his sixties, half-naked and his underwear stained with blood from shrapnel wounds from a US munition, cursed the insurgents as he greeted the advancing marines on Saturday night.
“I wish the Americans had come here the very first day and not waited eight months,” he said, trembling.
Another elderly man, who did not want his name used for fear the rebels would one day return and restore their draconian rule, said he was detained by the militants last Tuesday and held for four days before being freed. “It was horrible,” he told an AFP reporter.”We suffered from the bombings. Innocent people died or were wounded by the bombings.
“But we were happy you did what you did because Fallujah had been suffocated by the Mujahidin. Anyone considered suspicious would be slaughtered. We would see unknown corpses around the city all the time.”
The same story of arbitrary executions was told by another resident, found by US troops cowering in his home with his brother and his family.
“They would wear black masks, carry rocket-propelled grenades and Kalashnikovs, and search streets and alleys,” said Iyad Assam, 24. “I would hear stories, about how they executed five men one day and seven another for collaborating with the Americans. They made checkpoints on the roads. They put announcements on walls banning music and telling women to wear the veil from head to toe.”
Regrettably, one of the hideous, twisted beings who had tormented Fallujah’s residents survived the Marines’ initial assault on a mosque the day before yesterday. Fortunately, he was killed by a Marine who arrived the following day and, seeing that the terrorist was still alive, finished him off. More on this later.
Fallujans are not the only Iraqis who appreciate our soldiers’ efforts to liberate them. Haider Ajina sent us this photo, which was taken a couple of weeks ago:
UPDATE: Reader Harrison Colter asks a good question:
Hasn’t Al Jazeerah been reporting from the city for months? I know they were there in April, because I saw some of their reports then. Did they leave? If not, why is it that this is the first we hear about these atrocities? Did I miss all those reports of what was going on in the city?
Just a thought.