RAMADI, Iraq – A videotape shows a dozen white pickup trucks speeding through the desert, escorting a bridal car decorated with colorful ribbons. The bride wears a Western-style white bridal dress and veil. The camera captures her stepping out of the car but does not show a close-up.
The videotape obtained Sunday by Associated Press Television News captures a wedding party that survivors say was later attacked by U.S. planes early Wednesday, killing up to 45 people. The dead included the cameraman, Yasser Shawkat Abdullah, hired to record the festivities, which ended Tuesday night before the planes struck.
The U.S. military says it is investigating the attack, which took place in the village of Mogr el-Deeb about five miles from the Syrian border, but that all evidence so far indicates the target was a safehouse for foreign fighters.
“There was no evidence of a wedding: no decorations, no musical instruments found, no large quantities of food or leftover servings one would expect from a wedding celebration,” Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said Saturday. “There may have been some kind of celebration. Bad people have celebrations, too.”
But video that APTN shot a day after the attack shows fragments of musical instruments, pots and pans and brightly colored beddings used for celebrations, scattered around the bombed out tent.
An AP reporter and photographer, who interviewed more than a dozen survivors a day after the bombing, were able to identify many of them on the wedding party video which runs for several hours.
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