Attack on Marines Near Mosque

FALLUJAH, Iraq (CENTCOM) — U.S. Marines observed anti-Coalition Forces today firing from the Haj Musheen Abdul Aziz Az-Kubaysi mosque complex in Fallujah. In order to gain access to the compound housing the mosque, Marines used air support to breach a wall located several hundred yards away from the actual mosque structure. One anti-Coalition force member was killed in the attack. There is no report of civilian casualties.

Marines on the ground observed no damage to the mosque. The anti-coalition forces firing from the mosque wrongfully violated the law of war by conducting offensive military operations from a protected structure. As a result, the mosque lost its protected status and therefore became a lawful military target. Nevertheless, the Marines only targeted the wall surrounding the compound in order to prevent damage to the mosque.

Initial reports indicate a platoon-size force was firing RPGs and small arms from fortified battle positions inside of and on top of the mosque. Following the strike, Marines also recovered a fully functional mortar from inside the compound.

This mosque was repeatedly used as a base to target Iraqi and Coalition forces throughout the day. The breach of the wall was a graduated response to the threat.

I Marine Expeditionary Force will continue to employ precision weaponry in order to protect lives of non-combatants, private property, medical facilities, and religious structures in accordance with the law of war.