After media reports about a large-scale hostage crisis in the small iraqi town of Al-Madaen, US and Iraqi troops raided the village, but failed to
confirm the hostage reports. Locals from the city, denying any hostage crisis, suspect the media reports were fabricated as a pretext for raiding the
town and pitting religious/ethnic groups against each other.
US-backed Iraqi troops launched on Sunday, April 17, an operation to rescue Shiites reportedly held hostage by militants in Al-Madaen town, with some
locals charging the whole thing was a fabricated prelude for a Fallujah-like onslaught.
Iraqi troops armed with machineguns and assault rifles moved in vehicles on the edge of Al-Madaen, about 40 km (25 miles) southeast of Baghdad, as US
troops cut off two key bridges leading into the area, Reuters reported.
But several locals in Al-Madaen, where shops have started closing in anticipation of fierce fighting, insisted that the whole thing was
“fabricated” and there was no hostage crisis.
“I am afraid we will pay the price for media reports which are not true. Troops are cutting off the entrance to Al-Madaen. If they attack we will
defend ourselves,” one resident who declined to be identified told Reuters.
Emad Dawoud, another resident of the town, gave similar statements.
“There are no Sunni militants holding Shiite civilians hostage,” he told Al-Jazeera news channel Sunday from inside the besieged town.
He admitted there were tribal clashes in the town.
“We are getting ready to defend our town against any incursion,” he said emphatically.
A spokesman for Shiite leader Moqtada Al-Sadr, Abdul Hadi Al-Darraji, also denied Saturday that Sunnis were holding Shiites in the town.
He told Al-Jazeera that the incident was merely a score-settling among some families in the community.
Al-Darraji accused some parties of playing the sectarian tune to pit Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis against each other.
The Association of Muslim Scholars, Iraq’s highest Sunni religious authority, further denied in a statement carried by the Doha-based broadcaster
that Sunnis were taking Shiites hostage.
Meanwhile, Iraq's Al-Qaeda wing said on Sunday that Al-Madaen hostage crisis had been fabricated to give US-backed Iraqi forces a pretext to raid the
town and attack Sunni resistance fighters, reported Reuters.
“The infidels fabricated the case of the hostages. They are lying,” said an Internet statement from the group led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab
“The infidels and apostates incited them (Shiites) to lie so that they can invade Madaen as they did Fallujah ... and other cities,” said the
statement, whose authenticity could not be immediately verified.
A massive US raid into Fallujah has turned it into a ghost city, with deserted homes and roads, thick smoke and ubiquitous destruction.
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Civil war is still a perspective in Iraq. The american authorities held the election in January, at a time where the sunni provinces in Iraq were
still unsettled, thereby effectively denying sunni arabs a chance for democratic representation. According to numerous reports about Mossad and CIA
stirring ethnic agitation in Iraq, a destailization of Iraq and neighbouring countries along ethnic lines well serves US/Israeli interests in the
region (divide and conquer).