April 30, This day during the Iraq War

April 30, 2003 – The Fallujah killings of April 2003 began when soldiers from the United States 1st Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division fired into a crowd of Iraqi civilians who were protesting their presence at a school within the city of Fallujah. The soldiers claimed they were receiving fire from the crowd. The civilians said they were shot at first. On the evening of April 28, 2003, several hundred civilians ignored a curfew imposed on them by the United States Armed Forces. They proceeded to march through the streets of Fallujah, past the soldiers positioned in the Ba’ath party headquarters. They wished to protest outside a local school about the United States military presence within. A U.S. Army Psychological Operations team attempted to force the civilians to disperse with announcements, but the team failed in this attempt. According to locals, at this point the United States soldiers fired upon the unarmed crowd, killing 17 and wounding more than 70 of the protesters. The U.S. suffered no casualties from the incident. According to the soldiers on the ground, the 82nd Airborne soldiers inside the school responded to “effective fire” from inside the protesting crowd. Two days later, on April 30, the 82d Airborne was replaced in the city by 2nd Troop (Fox) / U.S. 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment. The 3d Cavalry was significantly smaller in number and chose not to occupy the same schoolhouse where the shooting had occurred two days earlier. However, on the same day three more unarmed civilians were killed by United States soldiers during a daytime protest in front of the Ba’ath party headquarters and mayor’s office (which are adjacent to one another; known collectively to US forces as FOB Laurie). Once again, the US suffered no casualties from the incident but some US soldiers were hurt in a retaliatory grenade attack on the Ba’ath headquarters later that evening. The incident is frequently cited and compared to other similar incidents. Foreign Policy compared Fallujah to Israel’s Gaza flotilla raid of 2010 during which Israeli naval commandos used lethal force to kill nine people.

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