A 15-year-old Iraqi girl was killed on Tuesday 20th September, identified as Zainab Essam Majed al-Khazali. She died when a stray bullet hit her head in the Albu Alwan area on the outskirts of Al-Fallujah, Iraq on Tuesday as the US military conducted drills in the Victoria base close to Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison.
The Iraqi Security Media Cell (ISMC) defined the murder of the young student and farmer as a ‘random shooting’ and stated that it has launched an investigation into the incident. The bullet extracted from her head confirmed that it belonged to the weapons used by American forces in the embassy and the airport, Iraq’s security forces said.
The murder of the teen by US forces has gained little to no coverage in Western media, as they continue to focus on the death of Mahsa Amini instead in neighboring Iran. US President Joe Biden in his UNGA speech railed against Tehran for Amini’s death and expressed solidarity with Iranian women while Amini’s reported nature of death continues to be investigated. President Biden, however, made no mention of the Iraqi teen who was killed by US forces just days later.
The funeral procession was held the next day as people gathered to mourn her death, and details emerged that she is the granddaughter of Martyr Majid Al-Khazali.
Sheikh Qais Al-Khazali, the secretary-general of Iraq’s Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, an offshoot of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), called for an “immediate” and “urgent” investigation into the killing, dubbing Washington’s actions “an explicit violation of the Iraqi constitution,” and a “flagrant breach” of the country’s sovereignty.
Close to where Al-Khazali was fatally shot was the Abu Ghraib prison, infamous for holding and torturing several innocent Iraqis, Arabs and Non-Arabs. It was known to conduct barbaric executions and recognized for its very squalid living conditions. From the 1970s, the prison was used by former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and later the United States to which then-president George W Bush utilized to his full advantage. Members of the United States Army and Central Intelligence Agency committed a series of human rights violations as well as war crimes against detainees during the Iraqi occupation in 2004.
Ahmed Taha Al-Rubaei, a lawmaker from Basra, Iraq, has demanded Baghdad’s government to instantly call the American ambassador Alina L. Romanowksi, ‘’and hand her a strongly-worded note of protest over the killing of 15-year-old Zainab Essam Majed al-Khazali.’’
“Even though two days have passed since the teenage girl was killed by a bullet fired during US military exercises near the Victoria base northwest of Baghdad, the US Embassy has not bothered to issue any official apology for the unjust incident,” Rubaie wrote in a post published on his Twitter page.
He stated, “The death, which occurred as a result of the use of live rounds during military drills near residential neighborhoods, exhibits an outrageous disregard for the Iraqi blood and a blatant disrespect for the country’s sovereignty.”
The US however, has not yet claimed responsibility nor issued an apology regarding the killing of Zainab al Khazali.
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