Mukaradeeb wedding party massacre

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The Mukaradeeb wedding party massacre[1][2] (Arabic: مجزرة حفلة عرس مقر الديب‎) refers to the U.S. 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.


The wedding united members of the 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 people, including 11 women and 14 children,[1] 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.[3] U.S. officials stated that the location was a "suspected foreign fighter safe house."[1]


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."[1] U.S. fire included both bullets and bombs, leaving behind craters.[3]

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." USMC Major General James Mattis asserted that even 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.[1] Mattis later added that it had taken him 30 seconds to deliberate on bombing the location.[4]

Video footage obtained by the Associated Press contradicts this. The video shows a series of scenes of a wedding celebration, and footage from the following day shows fragments of musical instruments, pots and pans and brightly colored beddings used for celebrations, scattered around a destroyed tent.[3][5]

Despite evidence against U.S. military, its generals refused to apologize for the actions.[6]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e 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. ISBN 978-0-231-14457-5.
  3. ^ a b c AP, Iraq Wedding-Party Video Backs Survivors' Claims," 24 May 2004
  4. ^ Bing, West (2008). The Strongest Tribe: War, Politics, and the Endgame in Iraq. New York, NY: Random House. ISBN 978-1-4000-6701-5., p. 245
  5. ^ McCartyh, Rory (25 May 2004). "Wedding party video casts doubt on American version of attack that killed 42". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  6. ^ "'US soldiers started to shoot us, one by one'". The Guardian. 20 May 2004.

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Coordinates: 34°00′28″N 40°12′08″E / 34.00778°N 40.20222°E / 34.00778; 40.20222