Iraq Wedding ceremony-Social gathering Video Backs Survivors’ Claims
RAMADI, Iraq – A videotape reveals a dozen white pickup trucks rushing by way of the desert, escorting a bridal automobile decorated with colorful ribbons. The bride wears a Western-style white bridal dress and veil. The digicam captures her stepping out of the car but does not present a close-up.
The videotape obtained Sunday by Related Press Television News captures a marriage ceremony occasion that survivors say was later attacked by U.S. planes early Wednesday, killing as much as forty five individuals.
The useless included the cameraman, Yasser Shawkat Abdullah, employed to report the festivities, which ended Tuesday night before the planes struck.
The U.S. military says it is investigating the assault, which came about within the village of Mogr el-Deeb (search) about 5 miles from the Syrian border, but that every one proof thus far indicates the target was a safehouse for international fighters.
“There was no evidence of a marriage ceremony: no decorations, no musical instruments discovered, no large quantities of meals or leftover servings one would anticipate from a wedding ceremony celebration,” Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt (search) mentioned Saturday. “There might have been some kind of celebration. Unhealthy individuals have celebrations, too.”
However video that APTN shot a day after the attack exhibits fragments of musical devices, pots and pans and brightly colored beddings used for celebrations, scattered across the bombed out tent.
An AP reporter and photographer, who interviewed more than a dozen survivors a day after the bombing, had been in a position to establish a lot of them on the wedding occasion video — which runs for several hours.
APTN also traveled to Mogr el-Deeb, 250 miles west of Ramadi, the day after the assault to film what the survivors stated was the marriage site. A devastated building and remnants of the tent, pots and pans may very well be seen, along with bits of what appeared to be the remnants of ordnance, certainly one of which bore the marking “ATU-35,” just like those on U.S. bombs.
A water tanker truck might be seen in each the video shot by APTN and the wedding tape obtained from a cousin of the groom.
On Monday, a senior coalition navy officer mentioned “we still do not imagine there was a wedding ceremony going on” and that intelligence confirmed that solely respectable targets have been attacked.
The survivors agree that the wedding festivities had broken up for the night when the assault started, however they insist that there were no foreign fighters or different combatants of their group.
The video shows the bride arriving in a white pickup truck and shortly being ushered right into a house by a group of girls. Outside, males recline on brightly colored silk pillows, relaxing on the carpeted flooring of a big goat-hair tent as boys dance to tribal songs.
The singing and dancing seems to go on eternally on the all-male tent set up within the garden of the host, Rikad Nayef, for the marriage of his son, Azhad, and the bride Rutbah Sabah.
The men later move to the porch when darkness falls, apparently profiting from the cool night weather. Kids, primarily boys, sit on their fathers’ laps; men smoke an Arab water pipe (search), finger worry beads (search) and chat with each other. It appears like a typical, gender-segregated tribal desert wedding ceremony.
As anticipated, women are out of sight — but in accordance with survivors, they danced to the music of Hussein al-Ali (search), a popular Baghdad wedding ceremony singer hired for the festivities. Al-Ali was buried in Baghdad on Thursday.
Prominently displayed on the videotape was a stocky man with close-cropped hair taking part in an electric organ. Another tape, filmed a day later in Ramadi and obtained by APTN, showed the musician mendacity dead in a burial shroud vintage t shirts v neck — his face clearly seen and sporting the same tan shirt as he wore when he carried out.
Because the musicians performed, young males milled about, most dressed in traditional white robes. Younger males swayed in tribal dances to the monotonous tones of traditional Arabic music. Two kids — a boy and a girl — held hands, dancing and smiling. Women are hardly ever filmed at such events, and they appear solely in distant glimpses.
Kimmitt mentioned U.S. troops who swept through the world found rifles, machine guns, international passports, bedding, syringes and different items that steered the site was utilized by foreigners infiltrating from Syria.
The videotape confirmed no weapons, though they’re frequent among rural Iraqis.
Kimmitt has denied finding proof that any children died in the raid though a “handful of girls” — maybe four to six — have been “caught up in the engagement.”
“They could have died from a number of the fire that got here from the aircraft,” he advised reporters Friday.
Nonetheless, an AP reporter obtained names of a minimum of 10 children who kinfolk stated had died. Our bodies of five of them had been filmed by APTN when the survivors took them to Ramadi for burial Wednesday. Iraqi officials mentioned at least thirteen youngsters have been killed. Mourners say the bride and groom had been killed.
Four days after the assault, the memories of the survivors remain painful — as are their injuries.
Haleema Shihab, 32, one of the three wives of Rikad Nayef, mentioned that as the first bombs fell, she grabbed her seven-month previous son, Yousef, and clutching the fingers of her 5-yr-old son, Hamza, started operating. Her 15-12 months-outdated son, Ali, sprinted alongside her. They managed to run for several yards when she fell — her leg fractured.
“Hamza was yelling, ‘mommy,'” Shihab, recalled. “Ali said he was hurt and that he was bleeding. That is the final time I heard him.” Then another shell fell and injured Shihab’s left arm.
“Hamza fell from my hand and was gone. Solely Yousef stayed in my arms. Ali had been hit and was killed. I couldn’t go back,” she mentioned from her hospital bed in Ramadi. Her arm was in a cast.
She and her stepdaughter, Iqbal — who had caught up with her — hid in a bomb crater.
“We have been bleeding from three a.m. until sunrise,” Shihab stated.
Soon American soldiers came. One in all them kicked her to see if she was alive, she mentioned.
“I pretended I used to be dead so he wouldn’t kill me,” mentioned Shihab. She mentioned the soldier was laughing. When Yousef cried, the soldier stated: “‘No, cease,” said Shihab.
Fourteen-year-previous Moza, Shihab’s stepdaughter, lies on another bed of the hospital room. She was damage within the leg and cries. Her kinfolk haven’t informed her yet that her mother, Sumaya, is dead.
“I fear she’s lifeless,” Moza mentioned of her mom. “I’m frightened about her.”
Moza was sleeping on one facet of the porch subsequent to her sisters Siham, Subha and Zohra whereas her mom slept on the opposite finish. There have been many others on the porch, her cousins, stepmothers and other feminine family members.
When the primary shell fell, Moza and her sisters, Subha, Fatima and Siham ran off collectively. Moza was holding Subha’s hand.
“I don’t know where Fatima and my mom had been. Siham obtained hit. She died. I saw Zohra’s head gone. I misplaced consciousness,” mentioned Moza, protecting her mouth with the end of her headscarf.
Her sister Iqbal, lay in ache on the bed subsequent to her. Her other sister, Subha, was on the higher flooring of the hospital, in the identical room with two-12 months-Khoolood. Her small physique was bandaged and a tube inserted in her facet drained her liver.
Her ankle was bandaged. A pink ribbon was tied to her curly hair. Solely she and her older brother, Faisal, survived from their fast family. Her mother and father and 4 sisters and brothers were all killed.
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