US army ‘seized Iraqi homes’

by Ahmed Janabi

A leading Iraqi lawyer has accused the US army of throwing 211 families, including his, out of their homes.

Rabah al-Alwan, 36, head of the Union of Lawyers in al-Anbar governorate in western Iraq, said that the US army has occupied his family’s house and those of with dozens of other families in al-Ramadi, the capital of al-Anbar governorate.
Al-Alwan has accused the US army of seizing the whole neighbourhood of al-Soufiya in the centre of al-Ramadi and using the houses for military purposes.
The press desk of the US army command in Iraq did not respond to repeated requests to comment on the claim made by al-Alwan.
Al-Alwan said: “Ten months ago, the US army seized my house and dozens of houses in the neighbourhood where I live. Residents were not allowed take any of their savings, jewellery, furniture or clothes.”

Military zone

Al-Alwan said the US army had installed snipers on the roofs of the houses to prevent anyone approaching the area they have taken over.

Al-Alwan: “Al-Anbar is nearly 100 per cent under the control of the resistance”
 

He said: “They killed a lot of people, such as Ayad Mutar and Muhamad Ayad, for approaching their houses to try to get some of their families’ clothes and belongings.”  

Al-Anbar is considered to be a trouble spot and a fierce revolt against the US army and the US-backed Iraqi government, has been continuing since the invasion in 2003.

“A delegation representing the evicted families contacted the US army to find out how long they intend to stay in their properties,” al-Alwan said.

“In the beginning they [US army] promised to compensate the families, and later on they promised to leave, but here I am talking ten months after the seizure and nothing happened.”

Authority

Asked whether the families tried to seek the help of the Iraqi government, he said: “The Iraqi government has no authority over al-Anbar governorate, it isnearly 100 per cent under the control of the resistance and the armed groups.”

“…We hold the US army responsible for all the damage that happened to the seized houses”

Rabah al-Alwan, head of the Union of Lawyers in al-Anbar governorate

Al-Alwan said the US seizure of al-Soufiya district has made the neighbourhood a target for attacks by those groups.

“Constant attacks have left the seized houses with major damage resulting from exchanges of gunfire and grenades. We hold the US army responsible for all the damage that happened to the seized houses,” he said.

The occupation has pushed some members of the 211 affected families to join the anti-US armed groups, al-Alwan said.

“The world has seen the rising number of US soldiers killed in Iraq and most of them were killed in al-Anbar, definitely the carelessness of the US army units has fuelled the anti-US sentiment in the conservative society of al-Anbar.”

About 105 US soldiers were killed in Iraq last month, most of them in al-Ramadi. It was the deadliest month for US forces since January last year. 

Source: Aljazeera

The article as it appeared on Al Jazeera’s website the day it was published on Nov, 17, 2006
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