Sunday, July 31, 2011

Iraqi tribal leaders condemn US

Iraqi tribal leaders have condemned the United States for massacring civilians

Source: Press TV

Iraqi local leaders have denounced the United States for killing a tribal chief and members of his family.

On Saturday, US troops in Iraq killed seven civilians, including a tribal leader and members of his family, in an overnight attack in Rufayat, a village 70 kilometers (45 miles) from the capital.

The US military said the attack in the northern province of Salahuddin targeted what it called 'wanted terrorists.' But local officials say the raid targeted the house of tribal leader Sheikh Hamid Hassan and his household, who did not have links with any militants.

The operation drew an angry response from local tribal leaders, who condemned the US forces for their 'massacre' of civilians.

The deadly attack in Rufayat came shortly after another violent incident involving US troops in Iraq.

Earlier, US Special Forces conducted an operation in which they destroyed several civilian cars, damaged nearby houses, and captured a man in the eastern city of Kut.

Almost 10 months ago, Washington formally declared an end to its combat mission in Iraq.

But the US has kept nearly 50,000 troops in Iraq and is putting pressure on the Iraqi government to extend the presence of US troops in the country beyond the December 31 deadline.

Influential Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has warned that the Iraqi people will take up arms if the US soldiers refuse to leave Iraq.

"Seyyed Muqtada Sadr has said, 'We will not leave weapons if Americans stay in Iraq after 2011,'" Sadr movement spokesman Salah al-Obeidi told Press TV in an interview.

In 2007, US President Barack Obama pledged that he would withdraw all US troops from Iraq by the end of 2009, which was one of a number of ambitious promises Obama failed to keep.

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