US forces seize Falluja hospital

Iraqi security forces have stormed a hospital in Falluja and detained many staff and patients.

    All staff were arrested, hospital sources said

    Several hundred Iraqi troops barged into the one-storey building on Monday and conducted room-to-room searches, cuffing at least 50 men inside.

    About half of them were later released.

    "All the hospital staff and doctors have been arrested," said a doctor at the hospital, Ahmad Ghanim.

    "We are now in a very small and poorly-equipped alternative clinic. We are only four to five doctors with five assistants," Ghanim said on Monday.

    The doctor added that US forces had grounded all ambulances and fired on and disabled the hospital's only car. Doctors were also running short of medicines.

    Little resistance

    Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said 38 fighters had been killed in the operation to seize the hospital but US military sources disputed this and said 42 fighters had been killed throughout the city.

    They reported no deaths at the hospital.

    Allawi said 38 fighters had been
    killed in the operation

    They met little resistance except for a roadside bomb that
    exploded close to a US military vehicle, wounding a marine.

    The hospital, the largest in the city, is located on the western side of the banks of the Euphrates, which separates it from the city centre, leaving just small clinics to deal with any local wounded.

    The hospital director said earlier that the facility was surrounded.

    "They are telling us over loudspeakers that if we leave the building, we will be shot at," Dr Salih al-Isawi said, adding that an ambulance that tried to exit the facility was fired at.

    It was not immediately clear if the driver was killed or wounded.

    Al-Dulaimi said Falluja's general hospital had been undefended as it lay outside the city. "US forces have entered the hospital as it is not guarded; only doctors and patients are there," he said.

    A US commander said marines also took control of two bridges in the south-west of Falluja, spanning the Euphrates, while a large, white observation balloon was seen hovering above.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Why some African Americans are moving to Africa

    Escaping systemic racism: Why I quit New York for Accra

    African-Americans are returning to the lands of their ancestors as life becomes precarious and dangerous in the USA.

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    No country in the world recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

    US: Muslims to become second-largest religious group

    US: Muslims to become second-largest religious group

    By 2050 the number of Muslims is projected to reach 8.1 million, or 2.1 percent, of the total US population.