US attack on Mosque?
It is so hard to tell what is really going on in Iraq now. A lot of Western reporters have left because of the poor security. So what do we make of this report in Al-Zaman (which is by no means anti-American)?–
Ahmad Hamzah, reporting from Ramadi: “6 civilians were killed and more than 30 wounded, among them 3 children, when US forces attacked a mosque on the outskirts of Ramadi. Eyewitnesses told al-Zaman yesterday that ‘American tanks fired on the Ibn al-Jawzi Mosque between the cities of Khalidiyah and Ramadi during Friday prayers, killing 6 and wounding 30, who were ttansported to the hospital. The six most severely wounded of them were taken to Baghdad for treatment.’ The eyewitnesses also said that ‘The US forces had notbe subjected to any armed attack and no one opened fire on them, so that their action was greeted with amazement.”
Al-Zaman maintains that the US had in fact been attacked.
“RAMADI – An attack on a U.S. military patrol followed by U.S. gunfire left 15 Iraqis dead and 17 wounded in a town near Ramadi, west of Baghdad, residents said. The U.S. military said it was not responsible.”
So we have a situation where it is being claimed by the Iraqis that the US killed 15 and wounded 17 civilians in a mosque when it replied to the convoy attack. But the US military is denying this charge. or at least is denying responsibility.
So did the US fire on innocent civilians at prayer? Or was the mosque being used as an insurgent base, in the vain hope that the US would not hit a mosque? At this point, I have no way of knowing. But I can say that al-Zaman is a paper of record for Iraqis, and this reportage will be influential.
Nothing would make Iraqis angrier at the US than such an attack on a mosque congregation at prayer,and they will likely believe the report.