Apr. 8, 2005 – Arkan Mukhlif Al-Batawi, a farmer in the neighborhood of Taji, north of Baghdad, says US troops took his mother and sister hostage after raiding the familyâ€™s home last Saturday. Al-Batawi told Reuters that the women had been arrested in an attempt by the US to pressure him and two of his brothers to surrender themselves to US troops who suspect them of insurgent attacks. Several of Al-Batawiâ€™s neighbors corroborated his version of the raid.
According to Reuters, the Army confirmed Wednesday that it has detained two Iraqi women and said it is investigating Al-Batawiâ€™s accusations, but a military spokesperson also claimed that the women are being held as suspected insurgents, not hostages. Holding the women as hostages would be a violation of international law.
A handwritten note in Arabic posted at Batawiâ€™s house after the raid said: "Be a man Muhammad Mukhlif and give yourself up and then we will release your sisters. Otherwise they will spend a long time in detention." Muhammad is one of Al-Batawiâ€™s brothers. The note was signed "Bandit 6," according to Reuters. A phone call from Reuters to the number listed on the note was answered by an American who said he was a soldier. He did not comment further.