In March, Knight-Ridder reported:
Iraqi police have accused American troops of executing 11 people, including a 75-year-old woman and a 6-month-old infant, in the aftermath of a raid last Wednesday on a house about 60 miles north of Baghdad.The BBC has now uncovered new video evidence that US forces may have been responsible for the deliberate killing of 11 innocent Iraqi civilians.
The villagers were killed after American troops herded them into a single room of the house, according to a police document obtained by Knight Ridder Newspapers. The soldiers also burned three vehicles, killed the villagers' animals and blew up the house, the document said.
A U.S. military spokesman, Major Tim Keefe, said that the U.S. military has no information to support the allegations and that he had not heard of them before a reporter brought them to his attention Sunday.
The video appears to challenge the US military's account of events that took place in the town of Ishaqi in March. The U.S. said at the time four people died during a military operation, but Iraqi police claimed that US troops had deliberately shot the 11 people. A spokesman for US forces in Iraq told the BBC an inquiry was under way.
Iraqi Viewpoint - Fear of U.S. Troops
An Iraqi from Anbar province - who wishes to remain anonymous - describes life alongside American troop patrols:
About a year ago my town of Hit was in the terrorists' hands. Then the US arrived and cleared them out.As Death Stalks Iraq, Middle-Class Exodus Begins:
US soldiers and Iraqi civilians face dangers in restive al-Anbar province
For lots of people who do not share the terrorists' fundamental beliefs, life got better.
But for these normal people also came another danger, getting killed by accident by the Americans.
I would say nearly 100 people have died in this way over the past year.
I have lots of examples. A bomb went off near a US patrol not far from a small shop. The shopkeeper locked himself and his two children inside.
After a while, one of the kids got thirsty. The man opened the door to get water from a tap outside - and was shot by the Americans who were still waiting there.
Lack of communication
A colleague of mine, a cautious man, was driving near a foot patrol. He stopped and the patrol passed, so he started moving again.
But another three soldiers were hiding behind a wall ahead. They fired three shots: one went through the windscreen, the other hit the bonnet and the other went near the front tyre.
Because my friend speaks English he spoke to the soldiers. They saw he was just a normal guy so they apologised and even offered compensation for shooting his car.
A lot of the problems are down to lack of communication between the two sides.
Another big problem is there is no work in Hit.
Farmers can't work properly. In the hot season the irrigation is mainly done at night. But if you are seen outside at night you can be shot at. So a lot of the farmers' crops are down.
Recently a family was crossing the river in a small boat. They got shot. So now no one goes on the river to catch fish to sell.
Insurgents are recruiting
There are no new infrastructure projects being built because of the security situation, so no one is in work.
What that really means is that insurgents with money to pump in can recruit more easily. That is what is happening now.
Insurgents recruit more easily in areas of unemployment
The terrorists are still threatening people under the surface, but it's not as bad as before the Americans came.
Don't forget, there isn't any local police. There is a gap.
We need someone both locals and the Americans can trust. I know this person would be in danger, but there must be some way we can work it out.
There are always two sides to the story. It's very dangerous for the soldiers too. They don't feel secure.
Any car coming up to them can be someone trying to blow them up, so everyone is under suspicion.
Because of the lack of communication, the language barrier, it's difficult to explain things.
The middle class provides the people, ideas and daily commerce needed to keep Iraq functioning. They are also an important moderating influence because they are largely urban and secular. If this moderating voice becomes muted, or even silenced, the religious and ethnic divisions that prompt many of the daily killings will worsen.
You can't have a democracy without a middle class. It's over. It's time, way past, for the U.S. to leave Iraq.