At least 20 people were killed and more than 60 wounded in an attack on a US military base near Mosul, in what US military spokesmen initially described as a “mortar” and “rocket” attack. Among the dead were US military personnel, US contractors, foreign national contractors and Iraqi army personnel.
Eyewitnesses said explosions knocked soldiers off their feet and a fireball engulfed the top of the mess tent.
Scenes of pandemonium and confusion reigned as the wounded were treated in a nearby parking lot.
The Ansar al-Sunnah Army claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on the Internet. It said the attack on the mess hall at the al-Ghizlani camp was a “martyrdom operation”, a term usually used by by Iraqis for suicide attacks.
Jeremy Redmon, a reporter for the Richmond, Va., Times-Dispatch embedded with the troops in Mosul, reported that 24 were killed in the attack at Forward Operating Base Marez. Although US officials are reluctant to give the number of US troops killed, Independent Television News reported that 20 of the dead were US military personnel.
Not Rockets or Mortars but a Suicide Truck Bombing
Updated with information from Toulon, Wednesday December 22, 2004
Sources close to the Iraqi resistance indicate the attack on the US base Camp Ghazlaani in Mosul inflicted significantly higher casualties than officially claimed. Moreover, it appears that a suicide bomber used a Mercedes truck loaded with explosives to carry out the attack.
US forces in Iraq have so far acknowledged around 20 dead. However our source, who is in contact with the Iraqi resistance, writes that US casualties exceed 120. There is no way we can confirm this but point out that US officials consistently underestimate US casualties.
Arab eyewitnesses inside the base also reported seeing the Mercedes truck explode and confirmed a very high number of casualties.
Although US defence officials initially said the incident involved a number of rocket and mortar rounds fired at the base, a U.S. commander in northern Iraq later said a single massive explosion had taken place.
Mafkarat al-Islam reported that the 12-ton truck packed with explosives slammed into the dining hall on the base during a packed lunch.
The Mafkarat al-Islam reported that the suicide bomber was wearing the uniform of an Iraqi policeman when he drove the Mercedes truck through two barriers toward the mess hall.
Eyewitnesses said that the truck was going fast, about 120km per hour, when it crashed into the glass front of the mess hall and exploded, reducing the building to a burning ruin.
Some Iraqi and Lebanese translators who worked at the base reported that there were probably no fewer than 160 Americans at the time in the lunch room itself, in addition to those who would have been in the internet and telephone recreation rooms. Outside the building was a garden in which the soldiers would take breaks, lounge or write letters. Moreover, in this area troops would not have been wearing body armour, a factor that has significantly reduced the death toll elsewhere.
According to an Associated Press report, the US military is now investigating whether a bomb was planted at the mess, although as yet nobody in the military or the mainstream media has spoken of a truck bomb. Nonetheless, the fact that the US military now admits to investigating a bomb is another indication that the devastation was not the result of mortars or rockets but maybe the work of a suicide bomber.
As with so much modern journalism, the reader has to read news items critically to find the truth. For example Jeremy Redmon who was at the scene wrote a report entitled ‘Chaos Engulfs Mess-Hall Tent After Lunchtime Explosion’, describing how “Hundreds of U.S. soldiers had just sat down for lunch when the giant tent that served as a mess hall was blasted open.
”The explosion knocked soldiers off their feet and out of their seats, and sprayed them with shrapnel. A fireball enveloped the roof, which was left with a gaping hole.”
Note the singular “Explosion”. Not a series of blasts but a single “fireball that enveloped the roof”.
Finally nearly more than 30 hours after the attack, Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that from investigations into Tuesday’s blast: “it looks like it was an improvised explosive device worn by an attacker.”
Again, only a partial acknowledgement of what happened. No mention of a truck bomb and if they can conceal that, what else can they hide?