American denials enrage Fallujah

By Phil Reeves in Fallujah

02 May 2003

American Central Command has dismissed reports that US troops shot dead 13 civilians at a demonstration in Fallujah as "allegations" that are unlikely to be proved.

The claims came as relatives of one of the victims, a 13-year-old boy, gathered for a third day of mourning at his home. Had US officials paid a visit, they would have been shown the ID card of Abdul Khader al-Jumaili. They would have seen his death certificate, No 220441, issued by Fallujah General Hospital, listing his cause of death on Monday as bullet wounds to the chest.

American troops killed a further three protesters on Tuesday. Their officers said two Iraqis armed with AK-47s fired on them first.

The killings, and the mishandling of the aftermath, have under-cut the relief and excitement felt after the toppling of Saddam. They have also fuelled the interests of violent anti-American elements.

In Fallujah, the new mood of bitterness was in evidence in the early hours yesterday when someone lobbed two small explosive devices at the Americans. The US explanations for Monday's tragedy have only served to exacerbate anger. The US admitted to wounding seven "armed individuals", and said that its soldiers opened fire after being shot at by about 25 armed civilians.

Certainly, Abdul does not fit the profile of a gunman: a gangly fun-loving boy, he was the son of Abdul Latif al-Jumaili, a 43-year-old clerk. The family say when the boy saw the passing demonstration, he tagged along out of curiosity. "Was this boy a soldier? No, of course he was not," said his uncle, Walid Khaled al-Jumaili. "Do you think a child like him would carry a gun? He was just an ordinary kid, who was harming no one."

c 2003 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

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