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Mukaradeeb wedding party massacre

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Title: Mukaradeeb wedding party massacre  
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Subject: 2004 in Iraq, International Criminal Court and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Iraq–United States relations, Firdos Square statue destruction, February 2003 Saddam Hussein interview
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Mukaradeeb wedding party massacre

The Mukaradeeb wedding party massacre[1][2] refers to the American shooting and bombing of a wedding party in Mukaradeeb, a small village in Iraq near the border with Syria, on 19 May 2004. 42 civilians were killed.


American officials stated that the location was a "suspected foreign fighter safe house."[3]

The wedding united members of the already related Rakat and Sabah families: Ashad Rakat was the groom and Rutba, his bride. Witnesses report that the American bombing started at 3 am. Local accounts state that 42 men, women and children were killed during the incident. Among the known dead were Iraqi musicians Hussein al-Ali and his brother Mohaned al-Ali. Iraqi officials report 13 children were among the dead. 27 members of the extended Rakat family were killed.[4]


The U.S. military took the stance that the location was a legitimate target. Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, the coalition deputy chief of staff for U.S. operations in Iraq: "We took ground fire and we returned fire. We estimate that around 40 were killed. But we operated within our rules of engagement."[3] American fire included both bullets and bombs, leaving behind craters.[4]

USMC Major General James Mattis said the idea of a wedding was implausible, "How many people go to the middle of the desert ... to hold a wedding 80 miles (130km) from the nearest civilization? These were more than two dozen military-age males. Let's not be naive." The Rakats and the Sabahs were residents of Mukaradeeb.[3] He later added that it had taken him thirty seconds to deliberate on bombing the location.[5]

In the aftermath, Kimmitt said, "There was no evidence of a wedding: no decorations, no musical instruments found, no large quantities of food or leftover servings one would expect from a wedding celebration. There may have been some kind of celebration. Bad people have celebrations, too." Video footage obtained by the Associated Press seems to contradict this view. The video shows a series of scenes of a wedding celebration, and footage from the following day showing fragments of musical instruments, pots and pans and brightly colored beddings used for celebrations, scattered around a destroyed tent.[4][6]

See also



  1. ^ McCarthy, Rory (20 May 2004). "Wedding party massacre". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 3 September 2011. 
  2. ^ Cavarero, Adriana (2 January 2011). Horrorism: Naming Contemporary Violence. Columbia University Press. pp. 1–2.  
  3. ^ a b c , (21 May 2004)Guardian UnlimitedRory McCarthy, '"US soldiers started to shoot us, one by one"', . Retrieved 4 September 2006.
  4. ^ a b c AP, Iraq Wedding-Party Video Backs Survivors' Claims," 24 May 2004
  5. ^  , p. 245
  6. ^ McCartyh, Rory (2004-05-25). "Wedding party video casts doubt on American version of attack that killed 42". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 

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