Eyewitness Account of Jaisani Attack: Hassan Ayad Kadhum Hassan is a 30-year-old college lecturer, who witnessed the Jaisani attack.
NPR logo Eyewitness Account of Jaisani Attack: Hassan

Eyewitness Account of Jaisani Attack: Hassan

Ayad Kadhum Hassan is a 30-year-old college lecturer who witnessed the Jaisani attack. He is preparing for a doctorate degree in engineering.

Following is a transcript of his account of what happened:

What exactly did you see with your own eyes?

I was only 200 to 300 meters away from the accident scene. It was night and dark, and we were sleeping on the house roof. We heard fire clashes, exchanging fires between two sides.

After we heard these fire exchanges we thought that one of the check points got attacked by gunmen — terrorists because we were expecting such [an] attack against the village.

When we heard these fire clashes, we called upon our people and families to help the checkpoint, so we all gathered. Then, [we] went to help the checkpoint, where the accident took place.

What happened — 10 minutes later — is that as if mortar rounds, as we thought them at the beginning, because there was a light when exploded after hitting the ground. The firing source was unknown, we heard no airplane sound, no tank sound, we heard no particular sound to make us think it would be a tank shooting or an airplane bombing.

Twenty or 25 minutes later, it was over. Maybe 30 minutes later, this thing disappeared( bombing). After it was done, we went there to check things. We checked the place to find dead bodies on the ground, body parts scattered like hand and leg. This is what we saw. We started helping them. Later, we came to know that American airplanes were doing the bombing.

So you thought the bombing was because of mortar rounds?

Mortar rounds by terrorist groups, because this is their way of attacking villages.

You have not heard any airplane sounds or noises?

No, no. No, airplane sounds at all. We heard from the neighboring villages about the airplanes bombing us from far distances. We heard it on the second day.

So you heard from people that American planes bombed the village?

Jet fighters. Yes through people that jet fighters were bombing Jaisan Al Imam village. Then the American statement on the second day, released by coalition forces, confirmed it: That an airstrike did hit Jaisan Al Imam village.

Could you tell me now how many people were killed? Describe the scene? Were there any foreigner among them, like Americans?

We have not seen any dead Americans. We saw machine guns, ammo containers that belong to Americans. We saw empty cylinders of Kalashnikov in the accident location.

In our village, while we were evacuating the wounded and the martyrs, we noticed that some of them were hand cut. Others with broken arms. Others had no legs.

This was at the outskirts of the village. I mean those did not reach the place where the fire clashes took place, which was suppose to be the battlefield. Most of the people who were killed even could not reach the wanted checkpoint. They were killed inside the village.

Some of those who got martyred were hiding between a wall made of clay and a palm tree. But the rocket targeted them directly. We saw a scattered body.

Have you noticed any traces of foreigners?

Yes, we found American traces there like sunglasses of an American guy — at the same place from where the fire shot at the checkpoint. Another piece of medical bandage — American one — as if they were healing their wounded people due to [the] fire exchange. For sure, they were affected either.

If there was a checkpoint and Americans were there, why did your people clash with the Americans?

Because, let me tell you, this route from where the Americans came, was a route used by terrorists when attacking the village. Our people who were engaged were policemen recommended by Dialla support council to protect the village, because the village was threatened.

On that day — 27th of holy month [of] Ramadan — there were threats by terrorist groups to attack the village and other villages in Kali area. So all villages in Kali's area were on top alert.

So for me to see an infiltrator, at night, 25 meters away, only as if he was riding a bicycle, what am I going to think of him? Should I not point my weapon at him, especially when he fired rounds at my checkpoint? What would be the reply? I should do the same as he does.

So you mean they started the shooting first? The Americans?

They started shooting at the checkpoint to provoke the checkpoint. It is very clear, it does not need any philosophy or analysis.

Because the Americans — when started shooting at the checkpoint itself — they aimed at provoking it, as if they knew the Arabs' traditions in helping others or brothers when facing troubles. I mean, people would gather and go to check what help needed to give a hand.

What happened is that they made people gather at the outskirts of the village to check the firing. Then the rockets and machine guns started. I do expect that some shoulder-held rockets were fired at the houses because the way of firing. The rocket was in a straight line. This mean that it was not a plane, which shot the rocket, because if so, the rocket should have taken an angle first then be in straight line. It is a well-known technical rule.

You mean as if someone from a distance shot a rocket at the houses?

Exactly, he shot a shoulder-held rocket at the houses.

In your estimates, how many Americans were there?

Well I do expect them to be four, five or six — not more than this because the number of rounds cylinders found were not that much, not many rounds. As if they were trying to infiltrate the area, not as they claim that they were, trying to detain someone or something like this.

Our experience when detaining someone is that there should be a court warrant or they do it by parachuting the wanted house or they use the main route not infiltrate the area.

People in the area who exchanged fire, were they having heavy weapons like anti helicopters missiles or rocket-propelled grenades?

Regarding people, let me tell you, that [a] fifth of the people — I mean fifth of the martyrs five or six persons — were holding AKs at the checkpoint. Their weapons were authorized by Dialla support council and the MOI considering them as police.

The rest of people, yes. Were having weapons trying to defend the place. But unfortunately they had time to take part, they did not reach the firing place.

What kind of weapons people were having? RPGs or machine guns?

No, no. AKs, they had no time to fire a round. After the checkpoint was attacked, it was pulled back. Then I do not know, as if it was set up behind closed doors.

Have you contacted the Americans? What was their reply?

There was no answer by Americans at all.

American answer was only by forces there in Kali's area ... Their answer was unofficial: That a special force came to area to do the operation.

The Americans said this?

Yes, the Americans there but the higher authorities gave no reply at all. I mean, the American forces at the accident scene.

What about compensation letter you made to Americans?

Americans said nothing about compensation.

Have you contacted Iraqi government?

We did contact it and till now, we are in contact with it. At the beginning, it was ineffective contact. But through Dialla Support Council, we did other contacts, but till now there is nothing.

Were there any militia members in the village, like Mahdi army or others?

Militias, there are no militias in Jaisan Al Imam village — only people with authorized weapons by Dialla Support Council. The village was threatened more than once and was attacked by mortar rounds.

American army says they targeted a guy affiliated to Iran and the killed ones were criminals. How do you comment on this?

False allegations that got no credibility. The aim behind it is to justify the brutal operation they did.

Could you describe to me what the families were like when they buried their sons in Najaf?

People were pale, panic and did not believe it was done by Americans. Plus people were very much upset with the government itself since there was no answer by government at that time.

You have been attacked by Americans, lost people and terrorists are waiting. So what are you going to do now?

Well, till now we have official relation with the Americans through our negotiator. Until now, we have no problem with the Americans in terms of antagonism. But in this case especially, we demand investigation and we want to know whose fault it is. Who is the criminal? Innocent people were wasted.

Also we want to know who gave the false info either. They said we were deluded.

Who said they were deluded? The Americans said this?

Were they deluded? For sure they were deluded because their allegations are false. If they really believed such criminal figure to exist in the area, so someone should have deluded them.

We know the guy who deluded them. He belongs to al-Qaida organization and now he is a member in Dialla governing council. His name [is] Abdul Husien Al Zubaidi. His hatred to the village is well-known. Long time ago, since Saddam's time, because he used to spread the wahabbi ideology in the village.

Are you trying to say that everyone in the village believes in this or it is your personal belief?

Well, most people believe in this because the Americans formerly came to our area, detained some people [and] then released them. They were doing checkpoints when got detained by Americans. Their weapons were destroyed but Dialla support council interfered and explained things. Then they got released.

So we do not know the purpose of such operation in which victims fell. For sure they were misguided.

How do you describe this accident?

A horrible crime —void of any humanity — committed by mercenaries in the American army. That's it.

Thank you.