Mukaradeeb wedding party massacre
The Mukaradeeb wedding party massacre (Arabic: مجزرة حفلة عرس مقر الديب ) refers to the American shooting and bombing of a wedding party in Mukaradeeb (means the wolves' den), 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."
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, 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.
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." American fire included both bullets and bombs, leaving behind craters.
USMC Major General James Mattis even 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. He later added that it had taken him 30 seconds to deliberate on bombing the location.
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.
- McCarthy, Rory (20 May 2004). "Wedding party massacre". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 3 September 2011.
- Cavarero, Adriana (2 January 2011). Horrorism: Naming Contemporary Violence. Columbia University Press. pp. 1–2. ISBN 978-0-231-14457-5.
- AP, Iraq Wedding-Party Video Backs Survivors' Claims," 24 May 2004
- 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
- McCartyh, Rory (2004-05-25). "Wedding party video casts doubt on American version of attack that killed 42". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-01-11.