American-backed killer militias strut across Iraq

IT WAS 9.30am when three men entered Haidar Musa’s sweet-shop and shot him repeatedly in the head as his eight-year-old daughter Zainab crouched in terror behind the counter.

By midday his stricken wife Kahiriya had packed Zainab and four other children into a car with a few possessions and fled their home town of Abu Ghraib for a life of penury in Baghdad, 20 miles to the east.

Eighteen months later, the six of them are living in a room that measures 12ft by 12ft, with a concrete floor. Its contents include a cooking pot, a sewing machine and thin sponge mattresses because this is their kitchen, sitting room and bedroom.

Asked when she intended to leave this squalor and return to the comfortable family home, Kahiriya Musa, 30, is emphatic. “Never,” she declares. “They will kill me if I return.”

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