U.S. Finds ‘Atrocity Sites’ in Fallujah

U.S. finds hostage sites in Fallujah (Seattle Times)

U.S. troops have found close to 20 “atrocity sites” in Fallujah used by insurgents to imprison, torture and kill hostages, a U.S. military officer said yesterday.

Marine Maj. Jim West said in addition to weapons caches, troops clearing the city after a major U.S.-led offensive had found rooms containing knives and black hoods, “many of them blood-covered.” Briefing reporters at a base outside Fallujah, West said one room had “handprints on the walls and along the sides of the walls … There was blood covering the entire wall and along the floorboard area.” He said troops had found signs of “torture, murder, very gruesome sights.” “We found numerous houses where people were just chained to a wall for extended periods of time,” West said.

It’s amazing how little coverage this has gotten as compared to news of one Marine killing one insurgent who turned out to be unarmed.

(via John Little)

Update (0846): Suspected hostage cells found in Falluja (Reuters)

U.S. forces have found nearly 20 houses in the Iraqi city of Falluja where they believe people were tortured and where foreign hostages may have been killed, officers say. On Monday, a CNN correspondent attached to one unit in central Falluja said those troops believed they may have found the wire cage where British hostage Kenneth Bigley was shown on video pleading for his life. He was later beheaded last month. “It looks like we found a number of houses,” where torture took place, said Major Jim West, an intelligence officer, told reporters at Falluja late on Sunday. U.S. officers put the number of torture sites “close to 20”. Among them may have been houses where Bigley, a building contractor, and his two American colleagues, Jack Hensley and Eugene Armstrong, were beheaded after being kidnapped in Baghdad in mid-September, officers said. Jordanian al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed responsibility for their killings. CNN’s correspondent in Falluja said an Iraqi captured in the city had taken troops to a house where they found a chicken-wire cage that matched that where Bigley was shown chained on video.

“Murder and torture” took place at the “atrocity sites”, West said, showing images bloodstained walls and floors: “These thugs depended on fear and intimidation.” “Hostages have been found chained to walls.” “They had a sick, depraved culture of violence in that city,” said Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Wilson of the Marines, who stormed the city on November 8 to wrest it from Sunni Muslim rebels.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.