Tuesday, November 09, 2004

'Watching tragedy engulf my city'

From Falluja:

'Watching tragedy engulf my city'

US and Iraqi forces are locked in desperate street battles against insurgents in the Iraqi city of
Falluja. The BBC News website spoke by phone to Fadhil Badrani, a journalist in Falluja who reports for the BBC World Service in Arabic.

Translation from Arabic by Jumbe Omari Jumbe of bbcarabic.com

11/09/04 "BBC" -- I am surrounded by thick black smoke and the smell of burning oil. There was a big explosion a few minutes ago and now I can hear gunfire.

A US armoured vehicle has been parked on the street outside my house in the centre of the city.

From my window, I can see
US soldiers moving around on foot near it.

They tried to go from house to house but they kept coming under fire.

Now they are firing back at the houses, at anything that moves. It is war on the streets.

The American troops look like they have given up trying to go into buildings for now and are just trying to control the main roads.

I am sitting here on my own, watching tragedy engulf my city.

Looks like
Kabul

I was with some of the Falluja fighters earlier. They looked tired - but their spirits were high and they were singing.

Recently, many Iraqis from other parts of the country have been joining the local men against the Americans.

No one has had much sleep in the past two days of heavy fighting and
of course, it is still Ramadan, so no one eats during the day.

I cannot say how many people have been killed but after two days of
bombing, this city looks like
Kabul.

Large portions of it have been destroyed but it is so dangerous to leave the house that I have not been able to find out more about casualties.

Mosques silent

A medical dispensary in the city centre was bombed earlier.

I don't know what has happened to the doctors and patients who were there.

It was last place you could get medical attention because the big
hospital on the outskirts of Falluja was captured by the Americans on Monday.

A lot of the mosques have also been bombed. For the first time in Falluja, a city of 150 mosques, I did not hear a single call to prayer this morning.

I broke my Ramadan fast yesterday with the last of our food
- two potatoes and two tomatoes.

The tomatoes were rotten because we have no electricity to run the fridge.

My neighbours - a woman and her children - came to see me yesterday.

They asked me to tell the world what is happening here.

I look at the devastation around me and ask - why?

Translation from Arabic by Jumbe Omari Jumbe of bbcarabic.com

Story from BBC NEWS:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/middle_east/3996111.stm

Published: 2004/11/09
14:12:13 GMT

Thanks to www.informationclearinghouse.info
http://207.44.245.159/article7256.htm

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