Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Blood, knives, cage hint at atrocities.
Acting on information from a man who claimed to have escaped from militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's network, the U.S. military over the weekend inspected a house where intelligence officers believe hostages were detained, tortured and possibly killed.
A banner for Tawhid and Jihad--the name of al-Zarqawi's organization until he changed it last month to Al Qaeda in Iraq--was recovered Saturday from the home, as were several black face masks, volumes of documents, handcuffs and two long, apparently blood-stained knives, military officials said.
On Sunday, a somber patrol of Marine officers visited the squalid two-story house on the edge of a dirt field in southern Fallujah.
The site is among nearly 20 found in Fallujah where insurgent atrocities are believed to have been committed. Maj. Jim West, intelligence officer for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, said Sunday that some of the sites appear to have been used to hold Western hostages and others to torture or kill local people who disobeyed insurgents.
The Marine patrol also visited a second site Sunday that might have been another hostage holding area, this one in a building that contained a wire cage large enough for a human that had an intravenous bag beside it, as well as windowless, dungeon-like rooms, one of which had bloody fingerprints inside.