Barbarians of Fallujah – * Butchers Kill Four U.S. Civilians * Hang Mutilated Bodies on Bridge * 5 GIs Also Slain on Day of Horror


Bloodthirsty Iraqi thugs ambushed four American workers in Fallujah yesterday, and a frenzied mob dragged their butchered bodies through the streets and hanged two of them from a bridge – while cheering and chanting anti-American slogans.

The unspeakable violence recalled the 1993 attack in Somalia in which crowds pulled the body of a dead U.S. soldier through the streets of Mogadishu.

Five U.S. soldiers also were killed yesterday when a bomb exploded under their armored personnel carrier about 12 miles from Fallujah. The nine deaths made it the bloodiest day for Americans in Iraq since Jan. 8.

The Fallujah atrocity occurred after the four American contractors left a nearby military base in two Mitsubishi SUVs and were driving through the city, 35 miles west of Baghdad.

Suddenly, angry terrorists in headscarves appeared and lobbed grenades at the SUVs, setting them ablaze.

Then, the attackers sprayed the burning vehicles with small-arms fire.

A frightening crowd of 150 men and boys quickly surrounded the SUVs, flashing victory signs, cheering and chanting, “Long live Islam,” “God is Great” and “We sacrifice our blood and souls for Islam.”

As plumes of inky smoke filled the area, they pulled the workers from the vehicles.

The police did not attempt to intervene.

As one body lay burning on the ground, a man doused it with gasoline, sending flames sweeping into the air.

Another thug kicked a charred body and stomped on its head.

A third beat a blackened body with a metal pole.

“This is the fate of all Americans who come to Fallujah,” said Mohammad Nafik, who was part of the jubilant crowd.

Boys hurled bricks into the burning vehicles.

One put his foot on the head of a body and shouted, “Where is Bush? Let him come here and see this!”

The vengeful Iraqis hacked some parts off the bodies, tied them to rocks and hurled the rocks over telephone wires.

Then they used ropes to hook the bodies – the skin burned away – to cars and dragged them through the streets of the city toward a green, iron bridge spanning the Euphrates River.

One of the bodies was tied to a car that had a poster in its window of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the paralyzed Hamas founder assassinated by the Israeli military in Gaza City.

At the bridge, they strung up two of the blackened and mangled corpses and left them dangling for an hour.

“The people of Fallujah hanged some of the bodies on the old bridge like slaughtered sheep,” said resident Abdul Aziz Mohammed said.

Under the bodies, a man held a printed sign with a skull and crossbones and the phrase “Fallujah is the cemetery for Americans.”

As a crowd cheered, a young boy beat one of the bodies with his shoe – a supreme insult in Islam – after it was pulled down.

“I am happy to see this. The Americans are occupying us so this is what will happen,” said Mohammad, 12, who was part of the crowd.

Some Fallujah residents said they thought the contractors were working for the Central Intelligence Agency.

“This is what these spies deserve,” said Salam Aldulayme, 28.

Other residents said the burned SUVs contained weapons and some of the bodies were dressed in flak jackets.

The Associated Press TV network showed an American passport near one man and a Department of Defense identification card belonging to another.

The contractors, who were not immediately identified, worked for Blackwater Security in North Carolina, which hires ex-soldiers to provide security training and guard services.

The Pentagon hired the firm to provide security for convoys that deliver food in the Fallujah area.

Blackwater president Gary Jackson and two other company leaders are ex-Navy SEALs.

The firm’s Web site, which features a man in a black mask and reflective goggles and others in combat gear pointing weapons, says its staff are “renowned for dealing with high-risk situations and complex operations.”

The vile abuse of the contractors’ bodies was reminiscent of an incident in Somalia on Oct. 3, 1993, when Somali militiamen ambushed U.S. Army Rangers and special forces, killing 18 of them.

Mobs dragged the body of one of the soldiers through the streets of Mogadishu.

The brutal incident became the subject of the book and movie, “Black Hawk Down,” and resulted in the withdrawal of the U.S. forces.

Fallujah is in the so-called Sunni Triangle, where support for Saddam Hussein was strong and rebels often carry out attacks against American forces.

U.S. Marines recently took over authority for the region from the departing U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division.

Earlier yesterday, five patrolling U.S. soldiers were slain by a massive roadside bomb set off by Iraqi terrorists.

The soldiers died near Habbaniyah, in al Anbar province, about a dozen miles from the scene of yesterday’s gruesome attack on four American civilians.

The roadside bomb destroyed the soldiers’ M-113 armored military vehicle and was powerful enough to leave a gaping crater measuring 15 by 10 feet, a military spokesman in Baghdad said.

The soldiers, members of the 1st Infantry Division, were not identified pending notification of their next of kin.

Their deaths raised to 48 the number of U.S. troops killed in March. The deadliest month since major combat ended was November, when 82 U.S. troops were killed.

At least 597 U.S. troops have died in Iraq since the war began March 20, 2003.

With Post Wire Services


Some of the deadliest attacks on Americans in Iraq since President Bush declared major combat operations over on May 1:

* March 31: Bomb explodes under U.S. vehicle in Anbar province, killing five troops. Four U.S. contract workers are killed in a separate attack in Fallujah.

* Jan. 8: U.S. Black Hawk medevac helicopter apparently shot down, crashes near Fallujah, killing all nine soldiers aboard.

* Nov. 18: Two Black Hawk helicopters collide and crash in Mosul after apparently being hit by ground fire, killing 17 American soldiers. U.S. military’s worst single loss of life in Iraq conflict.

* Nov. 7: Army Black Hawk helicopter apparently downed by rocket-propelled grenade, killing six U.S. soldiers aboard.

* Nov. 2: U.S. Chinook helicopter carrying troops headed for leave is struck by missile and crashes west of Baghdad, killing 16 soldiers, wounding more than 20.



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