Iraqi hospitals attacked and damaged by US forces

US occupation soldiers have conducted simultaneous military operations in cities across the west of Iraq. In May-June 2005, the heaviest of these attacks took place in the cities of Hadeetha and Al Qiem. These cities and surrounding villages are home to an estimated 300,000 people.

Eyewitnesses and medical personnel in the area have described how US soldiers prevented food and medication reaching Hadeetha and Al Qiem and targeted the cities’ two main hospitals, medical staff, and ambulances.

US soldiers violated the Geneva Conventions and international law by preventing civilians from accessing healthcare. Eyewitnesses reported at least one patient being shot dead in his bed in a hospital ward. Doctors were prevented from assisting patients and civilians in need. A number of  doctors and medical personnel were killed in the attack and others were arrested by US forces in the hospital. They were later released, along with the hospital manager who was detained for two days.

The huge military operations in the area have caused widespread damage. An unknown number of civilians were killed and injured during the attack.

Video footage shot by doctors show a badly damaged medical store in the Hadeetha hospital and damaged surgical theatres. The medical store contained medicine and equipment for all hospitals and medical centers in the west of Iraq. Staff and patients say the damage was carried out by “by violent and barbaric US soldiers”.

The Doctors for Iraq Society and other Iraqi organisations working in the area are asking for urgent assistance from outside Iraq to help equip the hospital with medication and other essential supplies.

Medical staff need basics such as medicines, surgical sets, laundry units, laboratory equipment and surgical sets. Staff and patients also need urgent protection from the ongoing brutal actions of US occupation forces who continue to violate international law by carrying out attacks on patients and medical staff in Iraq.

The Doctors for Iraq Society is calling on human rights organizations to conduct an urgent investigation into what happened in Hadeetha and Al Qiem, and to take testimonies from eyewitnesses and medical staff in the area.


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Articles by: Dr. Salam Ismael

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