There are two articles here. One from Al-Jazeera, One from MSNBC. The MSNBC article also has the video footage from the ABCNews cameraman embedded with that marine unit. All three sources are in basic agreement about the events.
One thing that they all DON'T bring up is that the soldier in question was shot, in the face, the day before. I understand the marines are over-extended in Iraq, but I have to ask. Should he have even been on that patrol?
Marines probed as Falluja fighting continues
Tuesday 16 November 2004, 23:59 Makka Time, 20:59 GMT
The prisoner was shot dead in a Falluja mosque
The US military has launched an investigation after video footage showed a marine shooting a wounded and unarmed man in a mosque in the conflict-stricken city of Falluja.
The man was one of five wounded and left in the mosque after US marines fought their way through the area.
A second group of marines entered the mosque on Saturday after reports that fighters opposed to the US presence in Iraq had moved back into it.
Footage from the NBC television crew showed the five still in the mosque. Several appeared to be already close to death, NBC correspondent Kevin Sites said.
He said a marine noticed one prisoner was still breathing. "The marine then raises his rifle and fires into the man's head. The pictures are too graphic for us to broadcast," Sites said.
Rights group Amnesty International said on Monday that both sides in the Falluja fighting had broken the rules governing the rules of war protecting civilians and wounded combatants.
Top UN human rights official Louise Arbour called on Tuesday for an investigation of alleged abuses in Falluja such as disproportionate use of force and the targeting of civilians.
'Top level of accountability'
In an interview with Aljazeera, US marine spokesperson 1st Lieutenant Lyle Gilbert responded to the killing of the wounded man in the Falluja mosque.
"I was not there and have no more information. The pictures were shown on TV but they did not reveal the circumstance that preceded the incidence. We will know after the investigation finishes.
"We the US forces abide by the combat laws and consider ourselves at the top level of accountability."
In response to reports by Falluja residents that US forces had executed injured Iraqis and dragged them behind US tanks Gilbert said: "I will not talk about this issue. The US together with Iraqi forces confronted the terrorists in Falluja. The forces are there to clean the city from rebels and terrorists, regain stability and security in Iraq, and to hold elections so the Iraqi children can play in playgrounds," he said.
'He did nothing wrong'
Marines interviewed in Falluja on Tuesday said they didn't see the shooting as a scandal, rather the act of a comrade who faced intense pressure during the assault on the city.
The Falluja offensive sparked more unrest in Iraq
"I would have shot the insurgent too. Two shots to the head," said Sergeant Nicholas Graham, 24, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "You can't trust these people. He should not be investigated. He did nothing wrong."
Meanwhile violence around Falluja continued as four US military boats were attacked and a number of soldiers aboard were wounded after an operation by armed men in the Nassaf district, west of Falluja city, Aljazeera has learned.
Earlier on Tuesday a marine was killed in a car-bomb attack in the south of the city, a marine officer said.
At least 39 US soldiers have been killed since the start of the Falluja offensive eight days ago and more than 250 injured according to the US military.
Crisis played down
Iraq's government has dismissed reports that civilians in Falluja are desperately short of supplies and lacked adequate medical care. Most civilians were reported to have fled the city of 300,000 ahead of the start of the offensive a week ago.
"The Iraqi government strongly rejects suggestions from some sources that there are shortages of supplies in Falluja," a statement from interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's office said.
A marine was killed by a car bombed in the month of Falluja
An Iraqi Health Ministry team had visited the city and Falluja hospital and found no shortages, the statement said, adding: "They have confirmed that they found no citizens in need of food or water. It is now clear there are very few citizens in Falluja. Most have already fled from the terrorists."
But the acting manager of Falluja hospital, Salah Issawi, told Aljazeera that the humanitarian situation in the city was still "a disaster".
"We expect there is a disaster in the city. A woman called us pleading us; she said that she is alone with no water, electricity or food and she was scared.
"I plead with the Iraqi ministry of health to pressure the government and US troops to allow relief teams and medical staff to enter the city," he said.
Surge of unrest
The Falluja offensive has sparked a surge in unrest in other areas. In Baquba, north-east of Baghdad, five policemen and 26 fighters were killed in fighting on Monday.
Renewed clashes erupted in the town on Tuesday, residents said.
US troops were also engaging fighters on Tuesday in the northern oil refining town of Baiji, witnesses said. They said fighters had taken to the streets and were waging gun battles with American and Iraqi forces.
• Marine shooting probe under way
Nov. 16: An investigation is under way into the shooting by a Marine of a wounded and apparently unarmed man on camera in a Fallujah mosque. NBC's Jim Miklaszewski reports.
Taped killing could be PR
nightmare for U.S., Iraqi allies
Investigation to explore whether Marine acted in self-defense
The Associated Press
Updated: 9:15 p.m. ET Nov. 16, 2004
BAGHDAD, Iraq - The fatal shooting of a wounded and apparently unarmed man in a Fallujah mosque by a U.S. Marine angered Sunni Muslims in Iraq on Tuesday and raised questions about the protection of insurgents once they are out of action.
International legal experts said the Marine may have acted in self-defense because of a danger that a wounded combatant might try to blow up a hidden weapon; a key issue was whether the injured man was a prisoner at the time.
The shooting happened Saturday, one day after the Marine, who has not been identified, was wounded in the face and after another man in his unit was killed by the booby-trapped body of an insurgent.
In a statement Tuesday, the 1st Marine Division said it launched its investigation “to determine whether the Marine acted in self-defense, violated military law or failed to comply with the Law of Armed Conflict.”
It was unclear from the statement whether the incident was reported through the chain of command Saturday or only when the pool footage became generally available two days later.
The incident could cause major political problems for the government of Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and his U.S. backers at a time when Iraqi authorities are seeking to contain a backlash among Sunnis to the invasion of the former insurgent stronghold of Fallujah.
American and Iraqi authorities tried to prevent rage from spreading among Sunnis, many of whom watched dramatic footage of the shooting that aired throughout the day on Al-Jazeera television, a Qatar-based satellite station.
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“Look at this old man who was slain by them,” said Ahmed Khalil, 40, as he watched the video in his Baghdad shop. “Was he a fighter? Was anybody who was killed inside this mosque a fighter? Where are their weapons? I don’t know what to say.”
It was unclear to what extent other Iraqis, particularly the majority Shiite Muslims, cared about the shooting.
Maysoun Hirmiz, 36, a Christian merchant in Baghdad, said she was not satisfied by an announcement by the U.S. military that it had removed the Marine from the battlefield and will investigate whether he acted in self-defense.
Abu Ghraib revisited
“They will say or do the same thing they did with the soldiers who committed the abuses against Iraqi detainees in Abu Ghraib prison, and they are still free, enjoying their lives while they destroyed other peoples’ lives,” Hirmiz said.
The central figures who allegedly carried out the physical abuse and sexual humiliation of inmates at the notorious prison west of Baghdad are currently on trial, facing trial or have already been sentenced.
The Abu Ghraib scandal, which erupted last spring when photos of the abuse became public, generated a worldwide wave of revulsion that raised questions about the treatment of Muslim prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere as part of the Bush administration’s war on terror.
The shooting in the Fallujah mosque became public Monday with the airing of the footage taken Saturday by pool correspondent Kevin Sites of NBC News. In his report, Sites said the man who was killed didn’t appear to be armed or threatening in any way, with no weapons visible in the mosque.
Sites said three other insurgents wounded Friday in the mosque were also shot again Saturday by the Marines.
Basic rule of warfare
International legal experts said protection of injured combatants once they are out of action is a basic rule in warfare but that the Marine shown in the video may have acted in self-defense.
Charles Heyman, a British infantry veteran and senior defense analyst with Jane’s Consultancy Group in London, defended the Marine, saying soldiers are taught that the enemy “is at his most dangerous when he is severely injured.”
Other experts contacted by The Associated Press were careful to avoid a public judgment because of the dangerous and uncertain situation in Fallujah, where U.S. troops were still fighting insurgents.
“It’s clearly recognized that people in combat situations are under enormous strain,” International Red Cross spokesman Florian Westphal said in Geneva. “Obviously, we were not on the spot, so we cannot judge the precise circumstances of what was being shown here.”
Westphal said the Geneva Conventions are clear: Protection of wounded combatants once they are out of action is an absolute requirement.
However, the status of the wounded man was unclear. A different Marine unit had come under fire from the mosque on Friday. Those Marines stormed the building, killing 10 men and wounding five, according to Sites. He said Marines treated the wounded and left them.
The same five men were in the mosque Saturday when Marines from another unit arrived. Westphal said he couldn’t say for sure from NBC’s account whether the man was a prisoner.
Heyman said there is a danger that a wounded enemy may try to detonate a hidden firearm or a grenade, and if the man made the slightest move “in my estimation they would be justified in shooting him.”
However, legal distinctions are unlikely to carry much weight among many Iraqis, especially Sunnis already angry over the Fallujah offensive. Allawi said he ordered the assault after Fallujah’s leaders refused to hand over Jordanian terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and other foreign fighters.
‘I wanted to scream’
But Sunni militants saw the invasion of the city 40 miles west of Baghdad as a plot by the Americans and the Shiites, such as Allawi, against religious Sunnis — an allegation both governments deny.
“The troops not only violated our mosques with their sins and their boots, but they stepped on our brothers’ blood,” said Khalil, the shop owner. “They are criminals and mercenaries. I feel guilty standing here and not doing anything.”
At a news conference Tuesday, Iraqi Interior Minister Falah Hassan al-Naqib, himself a Sunni, said that although “killing a wounded person is rejected by us,” Fallujah militants were “killers and criminals” who committed brutal acts.
That meant little to Hameed Farhan, 51, who works for the Transportation Ministry in Baghdad.
“I did not see it because there was no electricity at home, but my wife was at her parents’ and she described it for me,” Farhan said. “She was crying. Tears welled up in my eyes. I wanted to scream.”
© 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.