Photo Information

KARABILAH, Iraq (June 17, 2005) - An Iraqi man, who was held captive and beaten, had welts and lacerations across his back and arms from being tortured with electricity. This man and three others were rescued by Iraqi Security Forces and Marines from 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment who discovered an insurgent torture chamber in the city of Karabilah, Iraq during Operation Romhe. The Marines had entered a building which they believed to be a car bomb factory finding these men. The man was hung by his feet, head dipped in water and then tortured with electric shock. The four Iraqis received immediate first aid and were transported to a medical facility for further treatment and recovery. Operation Romhe's mission is to destroy strong points held by insurgents in the city of Karabilah. The Marines of 2nd Marine Division conduct counter-insurgency operations with Iraqi Security Forces to isolate and neutralize Anti-Iraqi Forces, to support the continued development of Iraqi Security Forces, and to support Iraqi reconstruction and democratic elections in order to create a secure environment that enables Iraqi self-reliance and self-governance. (Official USMC Photo by SSgt Jason D. Becksted)

Photo by SSgt Jason D. Becksted

ISF, RCT-2 find torture chamber, rescue four hostages

19 Jun 2005 | Staff Sgt. Timothy S. Edwards

Iraqi Security Forces and Marines, sailors and soldiers with Regimental Combat Team – 2 rescued four Iraqi men from an insurgent torture chamber in Karabilah, Iraq while conducting Operation Romhe June 18.

The four men, who had been beaten and tortured with electric shock, were provided medical care and transported to a medical facility.

“The torture house discovered by Company K, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment provides another sobering glimpse into the murder and intimidation campaign being waged against the citizens of Al Anbar Province,” said Lt. Col. Christopher C. Starling, the operations officer for RCT – 2.

Iraqi Security Forces and coalition forces, operating from intelligence obtained by advanced reconnaissance, entered a building complex thought to be a either a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device factory or a cache site for weapons and ammunition.

“There were definite indications of bad guys there,” said Col. Bob Chase, operations officer for the 2nd Marine Division. “But nothing had prepared them for what they found going in.”

The hostages were found malnourished, dehydrated, beaten, bruised across the back, blindfolded and cuffed to a wall, according to Chase. One was found under a stairwell away from the others. He was at first thought to be dead.

According to the hostages, they had been held for approximately three weeks and were never told why.

Medical care of the hostages was the immediate priority. They received immediate first aid then were transported to Al Qaim for any follow-on treatment they may need and recovery.

This type of action on the part of insurgents and foreign fighters are common, according to Chase.

“We think it is part of their murder and intimidation campaign,” he said. “When insurgents lose control over an area because they can no longer provide what they originally offered, they resort to this type of intimidation. This is a way of letting the people know that they are in charge.

“They use it to keep the people quiet and in line.”

The insurgents who ran this facility are believed to be affiliated with various terrorist networks.

“Materials discovered at the city and interviews with the victims rescued by Marines, clearly implicates foreign fighters linked to Abu Musab Al Zarqawi’s terrorist network,” said Starling.

Manuals, books, and DVDs found in the facility and a car bomb factory located adjacent to the building containing the torture room clearly identified this as an insurgent training center and possible safe haven for those en route to Baghdad or Mosul.

According to Chase, manuals were found instructing in the validity of taking hostages, the validity of beheadings and on insurgency tactics.

“The irony is one of the car bomb factories found was in a school,” he said.

A small weapons cache was also found within the complex which insurgents used to attack the ISF and coalition forces entering the city.

“It is a small cache compared to others that have been located,” Chase said. “It is believed that the insurgents were using it as a source to draw from as they held the complex against us. We received a lot of (indirect direct fire) as we moved against it.

“A number of insurgents were killed when we entered the building but none were reported captured,” he continued. “Those that we are fighting are either moving or dieing.”

This find confirms what ISF and coalition forces have told the Iraqi people and allowed the media embedded with the forces to show that the insurgents aren’t here to help Iraq.

“It is a common theme we have been telling the people of Iraq,” Chase said. “This is visual proof of that.”