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U.S. erects more walls to isolate Baghdad quarters

Azzaman | July 30, 2007
Haqqi Ismael

U.S. troops have isolated certain quarters in the neighborhood of Dora with concrete slabs, blocking the passage of vehicles.

Residents now vent their fury on U.S. troops, accusing the military of turning their neighborhood into a big prison.

Doura is one of the most violent areas in Baghdad and repeated U.S. military forays have failed to pacify it.

Residents said at least three districts were now completely cut off, leading to shortages of food and vegetables.

Cars are not allowed to enter or leave these areas making it difficult for patients to visit hospitals and shop owners to replenish supplies.

"These measures have caused a lot of problems for us. We are under fire now from all sides. Mortars and bombs by rebels and terrorists continue falling over our heads while U.S. troops have turned our areas into a big prison," said Abu Saif.

Residents have now to walk for long distances to reach bus terminals and it is impossible for ambulances and cars to drive patients in acute conditions to hospitals.

Um Mohammed, a house wife, said conditions in Dora were deteriorating with every passing day. "We have become almost like detainees in a prison camp. There is no water and there is no electricity and no fuel to run the standby generators," she said.

Mohammed Salem blamed the government for Dora's predicament. He said even before the Americans besieged certain areas the government had failed to provide residents with food rations, fuel and other public utilities.

Dora is already ringed by fences and walls but it is the first time U.S. troops separate its parts with concrete slabs.

Adnan Ahmed urged Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the parliament to order a halt to U.S. building of walls in Dora.

"We have become U.S. prisoners. Their tanks and Humvees have occupied our streets and their snipers the roofs of our houses, shooting randomly at anyone they find walking in the streets," he said.

Falah Hassan said U.S. troops' practices have turned most of the population against them. "Sometimes U.S. soldiers take ordinary people, women and men, who leave their homes for shopping, to their barracks. They chain them and humiliate them before they are released.

"This government pays no attention to the innocent sons of this nation who are being subjected to inhuman practices," Hassan said.


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