'I treated people who had their skin melted'

By Dahr Jamail
Published: 15 November 2005


Abu Sabah knew he had witnessed something unusual.
Sitting in November last year in a refugee camp in the
grounds of Baghdad University, set up for the families
who fled or were driven from Fallujah, this resident
of the city's Jolan district told me how he had
witnessed some of the battle's heaviest fighting.

"They used these weird bombs that put up smoke like a
mushroom cloud," he said. He had seen "pieces of these
bombs explode into large fires that continued to burn
on the skin even after people dumped water on the

As an unembedded journalist, I spent hours talking to
residents forced out of the city. A doctor from
Fallujah working in Saqlawiyah, on the outskirts of
Fallujah, described treating victims during the siege
"who had their skin melted".

He asked to be referred to simply as Dr Ahmed because
of fears of reprisals for speaking out. "The people
and bodies I have seen were definitely hit by fire
weapons and had no other shrapnel wounds," he said.

Burhan Fasa'a, a freelance cameraman working for the
Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC), witnessed the
first eight days of the fighting. "I saw cluster bombs
everywhere and so many bodies that were burnt, dead
with no bullets in them," he said. "So they definitely
used fire weapons, especially in Jolan district."

Mr Fasa'a said that while he sold a few of his clips
to Reuters, LBC would not show tapes he submitted to
them. He had smuggled some tapes out of the city
before his gear was taken from him by US soldiers.

Some saw what they thought were attempts by the
military to conceal the use of incendiary shells. "The
Americans were dropping some of the bodies into the
Euphrates near Fallujah," said one ousted resident,
Abdul Razaq Ismail.

Dr Ahmed, who worked in Fallujah until December 2004,
said: "In the centre of the Jolan quarter they were
removing entire homes which have been bombed,
meanwhile most of the homes that were bombed are left
as they were."

He said he saw bulldozers push soil into piles and
load it on to trucks to carry away. In certain areas
where the military used "special munitions" he said
200 sq m of soil was being removed from each blast

The author is an unembedded journalist reporting from


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