Friday, May 30, 2003
Iraqis said the soldiers who entered their homes that day, and talked to the women inside, crossed a line established by tradition and honor. Within a day, this conservative town on the Euphrates River 110 miles west of Baghdad, in a relatively well-off region that is home to much of Iraq's Sunni Muslim minority, became the scene of what seems to have been the first popular uprising against the U.S. occupation.
By morning Wednesday, hundreds angered by the house-to-house searches had poured into the streets, marching to the police station whose officers had accompanied the soldiers. In a tumultuous scene, stones and a grenade were thrown, and U.S. soldiers fired warning shots. By afternoon, the U.S. troops withdrew. The crowd, having swelled to thousands, hauled the station's furniture to a nearby mosque. Then they set the station on fire, hurling a few more grenades for good measure.