Eyewitnesses in eastern Baghdad report that they witnessed what might have been a deadly shooting attack on an American convoy last week.
On Tuesday, Sept. 30, on al-Falah Street in Sadr City’s Sector 7, located in the south-central area of the sprawling district, a sniper fired on US forces as their patrol passed. Eyewitnesses said one American soldier appeared to be seriously wounded or even killed by the gunshot.
According to the eyewitnesses, the US forces responded with arbitrary gunfire, which locals say killed one civilian and wounded two.
American forces later swept the area, conducting raids on homes. More than 30 Iraqis were arrested, locals report, adding that most of the detainees are not known to be associated with armed activity.
The following day, American forces increased their presence in Sadr City, eyewitnesses say. American armored vehicles were seen headed towards Sadr City from other areas of the capital. American forces returned to the area of the sniping, and launched another arrest campaign, residents say. More than 20 people were detained, locals say.
Eyewitnesses reported that the American troops were accompanied by masked men in civilian garb. The men spoke with Iraqi accents as they acted as guides to the raiding troops.
The identify of these masked Iraqi civilians is unknown. The translators who usually accompany American forces are usually outfitted in military attire. Some speculate that they may have been informants from the area.
Coalition Forces released a statement on Tuesday, announcing that a soldier had died that day in a “was wounded when his patrol came under small-arms fire in northern Baghdad.” That soldier was later identified as Christopher A. Bartkiewicz, 25, of Dunfermline, Ill.
It is possible that the attack that killed Bartkiewicz is the same one that Slogger sources observed in Sadr City, although this cannot be confirmed from the information available.
On Monday afternoon last week, eyewitnesses in Adhamiya district saw sniper fire hit an American soldier. The soldier was wounded in the shoulder but apparently survived the attack.
American forces closed the street, eyewitnesses say, and withdrew with the wounded soldier.
American armored vehicles arrived to the area later to investigate but locals say that they appeared unable to apprehend the sniper. Members of IraqSlogger's network of Iraqi staff contributed to this report but choose to remain anonymous for security reasons.