Thursday, October 23, 2003

Maybe not quite "destroying the village in order to save it" -- but close:

U.S. Raid Nets Whole Iraqi Village

HABBARIYAH, Iraq - American troops in helicopters swooped down on this remote sheepherding village in the desert and detained nearly all the men, one as old as 81, one as young as 13. A month after the raid, apparently aimed at preventing terrorists from slipping across the border from Saudi Arabia, only two of the 79 captives have been freed.

The sweep — similar to those conducted in Afghanistan by U.S. special operations troops — came at a time when American officials are concerned that foreign fighters, including those loyal to Saudi exile Osama bin Laden, are crossing into Iraq to join the resistance against the U.S.-led occupation.

...Villagers say they heard the whir of helicopters at dawn over Habbariyah, a Bedouin enclave of 500 people clustered in an area about the size of two football fields.

...Over the next 10 hours, villagers say, U.S. troops rounded up men including police, the elderly and teenagers. One woman also was seized. All were restrained with plastic handcuffs and taken to one house.

From there, U.S. troops loaded the captives onto the helicopters and flew them to an air base north of the village.

The woman, the wife of a tribal leader, was released the next day. The men were transported to the Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad, once used by Saddam to house political prisoners.

All but two remain there....


Well, they did let the 81-year-old guy go. And he does say the prisoners were treated well, though he also says he was held for a month and never questioned.

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