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On this day in history : US Marines massacred 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Haditha

2005 Haditha Massacre by US Marines
A picture taken at the scene of the Haditha incident shows several dead Iraqi civilians who were killed by U.S. Marines. | Image: Wikipedia

7 months   ago  /  2803

On this day (November 19) in 2005, US Marines massacred 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Haditha. Marines went house to house executing men, women, children as young as 1 yr-old & a 76 yr-old man in a wheelchair. The marines then urinated on the dead bodies. None of the Marines served jail time.

The massacre—which lasted 5 hours and involved two squads of Marines—was immediately followed by a cover-up. The Marines dropped the dead bodies off at a hospital, claiming they’d been killed in the roadside bombing.

Dr. Wahid at Haditha hospital said that "there were no organs slashed by shrapnel in any of the bodies”, but instead "the victims were shot in the head and chest from close range." Yet, the US put out a false statement saying civilians were killed in a roadside bombing.

The massacre would have been successfully covered up if not for an Iraqi journalist student & activist named Taher Thabet al-Hadithi. Taher shot a video the day after showing the bloodstained and bullet-riddled houses where the massacre had occurred.

12-yr-old Safa Younis appears on video saying she was in one of three houses where troops came in & indiscriminately killed family members. "They knocked at our front door & my father went to open it. They shot him dead from behind the door & then they shot him again," - she said.

"Then one American soldier came in and shot at us all. Safa survived only due to her mother's blood spilling onto her, making her look dead when she fell limp & fainted.

There were 8 bodies in the house, including Safa's 5 siblings, aged between 2 & 14. In another house, 7 people including a child & his 70-year-old grandfather were killed. Four brothers aged 41 to 24 died in a 3rd house. Eyewitnesses said they were forced into a wardrobe and shot.


Aws Fahmi, a Haditha resident who said he watched and listened from his home as Marines went from house to house killing, recalled hearing his neighbor across the street, Younis Salim Khafif, plead in English for his life and the lives of his family members.

"I heard Younis speaking to the Americans, saying: 'I am a friend. I am good,' " Fahmi said. "But they killed him, and his wife and daughters."

The Marines hurled grenades into rooms then shot children attempting to hide. The neighbors and survivors describe the horrific memory of listening to four small girls die screaming in their homes.

The remains of the 24 lie today in a cemetery called Martyrs' Graveyard. "Democracy assassinated the family that was here," graffiti on one of the family's houses declared.

After the massacre, leaders complained, the Marines paid a small compensation of only $1,500 for each of the 15 men, women and children killed in the first two houses. But 14 others received no compensation.

When residents learned none of the Marines were found guilty for the massacre many were outraged, but others never had much hope for justice.

An Iraqi lawyer working on the case said, “the sentence will be like one for someone who killed a dog in the United States because Iraqis have become like dogs in the eyes of Americans."

Youssef Ayid, who lost four brothers in the massacre, said, "We are sad to see the criminals escape justice.” Khalid Salman, a lawyer for the victims said, "This is an assault on humanity."

Replying to the post, here's what many people expressed.

By: Staff writer  /  Source: Twitter