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From The Guardian, a report from August last year:
Under US noses, brutal insurgents rule Sunni citadel
The executions are carried out at dawn on Haqlania bridge, the entrance to Haditha. A small crowd usually turns up to watch even though the killings are filmed and made available on DVD in the market the same afternoon.
One of last week’s victims was a young man in a black tracksuit. Like the others he was left on his belly by the blue iron railings at the bridge’s southern end. His severed head rested on his back, facing Baghdad. Children cheered when they heard that the next day’s spectacle would be a double bill: two decapitations. A man named Watban and his brother had been found guilty of spying.
With so many alleged American agents dying here Haqlania bridge was renamed Agents’ bridge. Then a local wag dubbed it Agents’ fridge, evoking a mortuary, and that name has stuck.
A three-day visit by a reporter working for the Guardian last week established what neither the Iraqi government nor the US military has admitted: Haditha, a farming town of 90,000 people by the Euphrates river, is an insurgent citadel.
That Islamist guerrillas were active in the area was no secret but only now has the extent of their control been revealed. They are the sole authority, running the town’s security, administration and communications.
. . .
DVDs of beheadings on the bridge are distributed free in the souk. Children prefer them to cartoons. “They should not watch such things,” said one grandfather, but parents appeared not to object.
One DVD features a young, blond muscular man who had been disembowelled. He was said to have been a member of a six-strong US sniper team ambushed and killed on August 1. Residents said he had been paraded in town before being executed.
The US military denied that, saying six bodies were recovered and that all appeared to have died in combat. Shortly after the ambush three landmines killed 14 marines in a convoy which ventured from their base outside the town.
Twice in recent months marines backed by aircraft and armour swept into Haditha to flush out the rebels. In a pattern repeated across Anbar there were skirmishes, a few suspects killed or detained, and success was declared.
In reality, said residents, the insurgents withdrew for a few days and returned when the Americans left. They have learned from last November’s battle in Falluja, when hundreds died fighting the marines and still lost the city.
Blue Star Chronicles has more.
CNN’s Arwa Damon knows Haditha.