LONDON (Reuters) – A television pool report by U.S. network NBC says that a U.S. Marine shot dead an unarmed and wounded Iraqi prisoner in a mosque in Falluja.
The Iraqi was one of five wounded prisoners left in the mosque after Marines had fought their way in on Friday and Saturday. There was no immediate comment from the Pentagon on Monday’s report.
U.S. forces launched an offensive one week ago on Falluja, and have gained overall control of the formerly rebel-held city, although scattered resistance remains.
The pool report by NBC correspondent Kevin Sites said the mosque had been used by insurgents to attack U.S. forces, who stormed it and an adjacent building, killing 10 militants and wounding the five.
Sites said the wounded had been left in the mosque for others to pick up and move to the rear for treatment. No reason was given why that had not happened.
A second group of Marines entered the mosque on Saturday after reports it had been reoccupied. Footage from the embedded television crew showed the five still in the mosque, although several appeared to be already close to death, Sites said.
He said one Marine noticed one of the prisoners was still breathing.
A Marine can be heard saying on the pool footage provided to Reuters Television: “He’s fucking faking he’s dead. He faking he’s fucking dead.”
“The Marine then raises his rifle and fires into the man’s head. The pictures are too graphic for us to broadcast,” Sites said. No images of the shooting were shown in the footage provided to Reuters.
The report said the Marine, who had returned to duty after being shot in the face a day earlier, had been removed from the field and was being questioned by the U.S. military.
Sites said the shot prisoner “did not appear to be armed or threatening in any way”.If you read this previous dispatch from Sites you may understand the intensity of the situation these Marines are facing.
War is not a video game, it’s raw, unscripted, and emotional.
Update: Fox News has more on the story, including information that enemy fighters have used the tactic of feigning a wound to draw U.S. soldiers in, then opening fire on them and that insurgents have also been known to rig dead bodies with explosive devices that go off when U.S. troops approach.