First Published: 2006-11-28

 
Palestinians brutally targeted in Iraq
 

Palestinians face rape, torture, death in post-2003 Iraq, desperately in need of help to leave county.

 

Middle East Online

Once more, the world fails to intervene - © IRIN

BAGHDAD - Of the approximately 30,000 Palestinians who were registered in Iraq in 2003 by the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA), an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 are left in the country, according to UNHCR and other organisations.

The rest have either been killed or have fled to neighbouring countries. With all borders now closed to them, Palestinians who are forced to stay in Iraq face an almost certain death as they are perceived by many Iraqis to have been favoured by the government of former president Saddam Hussein.

Of those who have remained behind, many have been kidnapped, tortured or killed. They are routinely threatened and their families live in fear, expecting to be the next victims of militias and armed groups.

In the run-up to the UN’s International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on 29 November, IRIN spoke to Sahar Ahmed, 41, a Palestinian mother-of-four who was born in Iraq and now finds herself trapped in the country.

Her son was kidnapped and tortured after being accused of being a follower of Saddam Hussein and was given an ultimatum to leave the country within a week. With no money, the family moved to another area of the capital but even there they were not safe.

They were followed and threatened and now live with two other Palestinian families in an empty school near the Adhamyia area of Baghdad.

“We didn’t have a choice. If we had money, we would have left Iraq but because we are Palestinians no one employs us now,” Sahar said.

“Because we did not follow their orders, they [the armed group] took my 17-year-old daughter and raped her a month ago. She was also beaten all over her body and was told that that was the payment for all Palestinians who chose to stay in their country,” she added.

Sahar said that the house in which she was living was filled with bullet holes in its walls and messages were pasted on its doors warning them that staying in Iraq meant certain death.

“I sought help from NGOs and even tried to cross the Syrian border but we were forced back to the capital. Our old neighbours turned their backs on us as soon as they saw that people were targeting us. Now we are alone trying to survive,” she said.

Sahar said her husband was killed by the US army in 2003 when he went through a closed road and soldiers shot him dead.

“Now I ask the world. With a raped daughter, a tortured son, a killed husband and without a house and food, maybe someone will look after us and try to help, or do they still need more proof that we are suffering and need to leave this country as soon as possible?” Sahar asked.

© IRIN

 

Iraq forces press Mosul offensive

Tunisian public health sector struggles to heal itself

Morocco fugitive protest leader arrested

Mattis: Civilian deaths a 'fact of life' in war on IS

Syria girls escape war with Snow White

Israel interior minister questioned on graft suspicions

Tunisia security forces kill IS fugitive

Egypt’s left-wing parties start searching for Sisi competitor

Political scandal grips new Algerian government

Jordan gearing up for another Ramadan with refugees

Egypt’s left-wing parties start searching for Sisi competitor

US urged to keep track of its Iraq arms supply

Images emerge of Manchester bomber as runners defy threat

Qatar risks US sanctions over support for Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood

Libya jihadist group Ansar al-Sharia announces dissolution

Iran leader launches fierce attack on ‘milking cow’ Saudis

US-Turkish relations go from bad to worse

Egypt hits jihadists as IS claims deadly attack on Christians

Britain arrests two more in Manchester attack probe

Turkey charges opposition newspaper staff

Death toll in Tripoli clashes reaches 52

Hundreds of migrants rescued in major operation off Libya

Palestinians end mass hunger strike in Israel jails

Egypt Christians bury victims with tears, anger

Ramadan in Libya: little cash, much violence

UN braces for up to 200,000 Iraqis to flee Mosul

Iraq forces launch broad attack on IS holdouts in Mosul

Civilians flee IS-held Syria cities after deadly strikes

At least 28 dead in Tripoli clashes

UN says nations bombing IS must protect civilians

26 killed in attack on Egypt Christians

Turkey identifies 'intelligence weaknesses' before coup attempt

Tunisia opens trial over 2015 beach massacre

Syria army takes control of key road

US-led strikes kill 35 civilians in east Syria

Probe finds over 100 Mosul civilians killed in US air strike

Palestinian president says US should mediate hunger strike

Libya says working closely with Britain over concert attack

EU leaders, Erdogan meet in bid to ease tensions

Myanmar to deport Turkish family wanted for alleged coup links

Iran says it has built third underground missile factory

Trump gets rough ride in EU, NATO meeting

Saudi minister confident on oil output deal

Egyptians brace for austere Ramadan

Qatari FM says country victim of smear campaign, particularly in US