Eyewitness: Fear remains after assault

From the www.monabaker.com archive (legacy material)

BBC News | 16 Novemebr 2004

As US forces say they have overall control of Falluja, the BBC News website spoke by phone to Fadhil Badrani, an Iraqi journalist and resident of Falluja who reports regularly for Reuters and the BBC World Service in Arabic.
We are publishing his and other eyewitness accounts from the city in order to provide the fullest possible range of perspectives from those who are there:
” The city is calmer now – but the fear is still there and some fighting.
I have seen some strange things recently, such as stray dogs snatching bites out of bodies lying on the streets.
Meanwhile, people forage in their gardens looking for something to eat.
Those that have survived this far are looking gaunt.
The opposite is happening to the dead – left where they fell, they are now bloated and rotting.
Many of the fighters have escaped or been killed. A few have stayed on to fight.
Scared to move
US forces control most of the city now, except for some areas in the south.
We keep hearing that aid has arrived at the hospital on the outskirts of the city, which is now in the hands of the Americans.
But most people in this area are too weak or too scared to make the journey, or even to leave their homes.
For now, the best option is to stay put. I would like to escape Falluja, but I fear I will end up getting killed if I try.
A group of journalist friends left the city by car last week as the assault was starting. I have no idea what happened to them.
Not one of their mobile phones works and I fear the worst.
Food and water are all but finished. I have enough dried dates and water to last me another few days.
If, in five days’ time, it is still impossible to leave the city or get any supplies, I might have to raid my neighbour’s vacant house for food and water.
I can enter their place by jumping from our roof onto theirs.
I am completely out of touch with the situation in the rest of Iraq.
Looking at Falluja now, the only comparisons I can think of are cities like Beirut and Sarajevo.
Other interviews with Fadhil Badrani:
Ghost city calls for help
Smoke and corpses
Defiance amid carnage
Watching tragedy engulf my city
Taking cover in Falluja
Prayers and tears in Falluja
Inside besieged Falluja
Translation from Arabic by Linda Jamil of bbcarabic.com