Jubilant residents dragged the charred corpses of four foreigners -- one a woman, at least one an American -- through the streets Wednesday and hanged them from the bridge spanning the Euphrates River. Five American troops died in a roadside bombing nearby.
The four foreigners were killed in a rebel ambush of their SUVs in Fallujah, a Sunni Triangle city about 35 miles west of Baghdad and scene of some of the worst violence on both sides of the conflict since the beginning of the American occupation a year ago.
It was reminiscent of the 1993 scene in Somalia, when a mob dragged the corpse of a U.S. soldier through the streets of Mogadishu, eventually leading to the American withdrawal from the African nation.
In one of the bloodiest days for the U.S. military this year, five American troops died when their military vehicle ran over a bomb in a separate incident 12 miles to the northwest, among the reed-lined roads running through some of Iraq's richest farmland.
Residents said the bomb attack occurred in Malahma, 12 miles northwest of Fallujah, where anti-U.S. insurgents are active. U.S. Marines operate in the area, but it was unclear whether the slain troops were Marines.
Chanting "Fallujah is the graveyard of Americans," residents cheered after the grisly assault on two four-wheel-drive civilian vehicles, which left both in flames. Others chanted, "We sacrifice our blood and souls for Islam."
Associated Press Television News pictures showed one man beating a charred corpse with a metal pole. Others tied a yellow rope to a body, hooked it to a car and dragged it down the main street of town. Two blackened and mangled corpses were hung from a green iron bridge across the Euphrates.
"The people of Fallujah hanged some of the bodies on the old bridge like slaughtered sheep," resident Abdul Aziz Mohammed said. Some of the corpses were dismembered, he said.
Beneath the bodies, a man held a printed sign with a skull and crossbones and the phrase "Fallujah is the cemetery for Americans."
Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Worse and worse