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Iraqis to Celebrate `Eid Only After End of Occupation


By Samir Haddad, IOL Correspondent


As the second `Eid Al-Fitr under the US-led occupation of Iraq falls on Sunday, November 14, Iraqis are still missing the good old days and grief-stricken by the US onslaught on the resistance bastion of Fallujah.

The interim Iraqi government announces Saturday, November 12, that the Fallujah offensive was over, with more than 1,000 fighters killed.

However, the report was immediately rebuffed by the US army which said that only its commanders on the ground can make such a conclusion, which they have not.

For Iraqis the one and only dream that will bring back their lost smiles is an end to the barbaric offensive on their fellow countrymen in the western Iraqi city and the withdrawal of the US-led occupation troops once and for all.

"I couldn't feel (the holy Muslim month of) Ramadan this year because I sit here in Baghdad helplessly watching my mother and children besieged in war-torn Fallujah," bereaved Ahmad Al-Falluji, who fled the city, told

At least two-thirds of Fallujah's 300,000-strong population have reportedly fled the city ahead of the fighting.

Some of the forcible evacuees took refuge in neighboring cities and Baghdad with fellow Iraqis expressing their heartfelt solidarity and displaying admirable hospitability and generosity to solace them in their hard times.

Others, however, had to resort to mosques, hospitals and schools and are living under appalling conditions.

Some 10,000 US marines and army forces, alongside some 2,000 Iraqi national guards unleashed a long expected onslaught on the resistance hub on Monday, November 8, capping long nights of massive US air strikes.

An estimated 80 percent of Fallujah under occupation following a heavy five-day assault and savage house-to-house fighting.

The invading troops have been fighting a tenacious enemy that has been hard to pin down.

The onslaught looked set to come at a heavy price for the US military as 22 American troops have been killed and up to 200 others evacuated to the US military hospital in the German city of Landstuhl so far.

Turning to God


Fallujah evacuees have been supplicating to God to end the unspeakable sufferings of their fellow ones in the battered city.

Innocent children have also joined congregational prayers, hoping to return once again to their schools and parks though wondering if they still stand in their place.

"I really don't know the fate of our homes and schools and whether they were devoured by raid flames or marauded by occupation forces," said 14-year-old Aisha.

Performing Tarawih prayers at Al-Shahideen Mosque in Baghdad 's Al-Khadra district, many woman evacuees implored God to instill patience in the hearts of the people of Fallujah and reward them for their steadfastness.

Others opted for raising funds for the people of Fallujah to prove that they do feel for them.

An Iraqi Red Crescent convoy of emergency supplies entered Fallujah on Saturday amid fears of a growing humanitarian crisis.

The international aid organization said civilians hiding in the city are dying of starvation and thirst.

Lost Happiness

As for the rest of Iraqis, they no longer feel the spirit of the Muslim feast with the foreign occupation weighing heavily on their hearts.

"In the past, we used to go shopping before `Eid overwhelmed by joy, but now we barely buy our basics from nearby shops due to the prevailing sense of insecurity," said Um Kareem.

Her neighbor Iman added that she could not buy new clothes for her only daughter and bought her confectionary in a desperate bid to please her.

"I fear to go out as blasts caused by booby-trapped cars have almost become daily occurrences," she said.

"The US occupation has further disunited us as families can't anymore visit each other the way they used to."

Not to mention restaurants, cafes and parks, who have virtually become ghost places.

"In the past, we used to go to the Tourist Island in Baghdad , which used to be a breathtaking scenery, but it has now become an ugly US barricade."