Slaughter of September 1, 2013
100 residents remained under agreement
In August 2012, under the quadrilateral agreement of the Ashraf residents, UN, Iraqi government and U.S., 100 residents had remained behind in Camp Ashraf to guard and negotiate the safe disposal of residents’ movable and immovable property, worth approximately 550 millions of dollars. Lawyers employed by the Ashraf residents to deal the sale of their properties were threatened by al-Maliki government and scared off. Despite many efforts by the residents to bring international lawyers to tackle the issue and enter into bilateral agreement with a British company, the Iraqi government left all efforts futile and barred any deal to be reached.
Blood Cold Massacre
In late August, two weeks preceding the slaughter, Iraqi authorities cut off supplies of water and electricity to the camp. The night before the attack, a convoy of vehicles had approached the Camp from the north, among them vehicle belonging to General Jamil al-Shameri, police Commander of the Diyala Province. Five hours later, under clear and sunny skies at dawn on September 1, 2013, the Iraqi government carried out a blood cold massacre against the 100 remained residents in Ashraf.
At 5:15am, four residents were keeping watch at Ashraf’s main gate, Lion’s Gate, as a first group of attackers approached the Camp. Approximately 120 men dressed in military uniforms and carrying AK-47s fitted with silencers and loaded with armor-piercing bullets, pistols, and explosives, engaged in a coordinated assault against Camp Ashraf. For two hours, the assailants scoured the Camp, killing 52 and destroying millions of dollars in property. Every individual killed was shot in the head or neck, and many were handcuffed before being executed. Nine seriously injured residents were carried to the camp clinic by their colleagues, but were then executed by Iraqi military personnel on their hospital beds. The assailants seized seven hostages—six women and one man—and forcibly transported them outside of the Camp, leaving behind a scene of destruction. They went after any resident they could find—women, men, and wounded alike. The 42 survivors were the ones who the killers could not find.
Inactivity of UN and U.S. and lies of the Iraqi government
Despite repeated pleas for the UN or US to intervene, there was complete silence and inactivity from both. The residents phoned directly to UNAMI and U.S. Embassy. Two bodies found later were still clutching phones. The Second Secretary in the US Embassy in Baghdad, who was informed 30 minutes after the start of the massacre, replied that he would urgently follow this case. But it was only after 12 hours that a local UN official finally went to the scene, by which time the massacre was over. By then the Iraqi government was already denying that any of their military had entered the camp. But in a turnaround move, the Iraqi Government then admitted it had the hostages in its possession. On September 12, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported Kamel Amin, the spokesman of Iraq’s Human Rights Ministry, as saying that security forces arrested the hostages because they had attacked the forces. After initially acknowledging its role in their abduction, oddly, the Iraqi government denied yet again knowledge of the hostages’ whereabouts in order to put a lid over its crime against humanity.