“I want them to know about conditions inside [Falluja] – there are dead women and children lying on the streets.”

Eyewitness: Smoke and corpses

11 Nov. 2004 | BBC

US troops, backed by Iraqi forces, are locked in a fierce fight to wrest the city of Falluja from rebel control. The BBC News website spoke by phone to Fadhil Badrani, an Iraqi journalist and resident of Falluja who reports regularly for Reuters and the BBC World Service in Arabic.

We are publishing his and other eyewitness accounts from the city in order to provide the fullest possible range of perspectives from those who are there:

A row of palm trees used to run along the street outside my house – now only the trunks are left.

The upper half of each tree has vanished, blown away by mortar fire.

From my window, I can also make out that the minarets of several mosques have been toppled.

There are more and more dead bodies on the streets and the stench is unbearable.

Smoke is everywhere.

Sleeping through bombardment

A house some doors from mine was hit during the bombardment on Wednesday night. A 13-year-old boy was killed. His name was Ghazi.

I tried to flee the city last night but I could not get very far. It was too dangerous.

I am getting used to the bombardment. I have learnt to sleep through the noise – the smaller bombs no longer bother me.

Without water and electricity, we feel completely cut off from everyone else.

I only found out Yasser Arafat had died because the BBC rang me.

It is hard to know how much people outside Falluja are aware of what is going on here.

I want them to know about conditions inside this city – there are dead women and children lying on the streets.

People are getting weaker from hunger. Many are dying from their injuries because there is no medical help left in the city whatsoever.

Some families have started burying their dead in their gardens.

Iraqi soldiers

There has been a lot of resistance in Jolan.

The Americans have taken over several high-rise buildings overlooking the district.

But the height has not helped them control the area because the streets of Jolan are very narrow and you cannot fire into them directly.

The US military moves along the main roads and avoids the side-streets. The soldiers do not leave their armoured vehicles and tanks.

If they get fired on, they fire back from their tanks or call in air-strikes.

I saw some Iraqi government soldiers on the ground earlier.

I don’t know which part of the country these soldiers are from. They are definitely not from any of the western provinces such as al-Anbar.

I have heard people say they are from Kurdistan.

They are well co-ordinated. When the US forces pull back from an area, the Iraqi soldiers will take over there.

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