Inside the Baghdad Brothel Massacre
By John Beck
August 2, 2014 | 2:10 pm
At about 7:30 PM on July 12, a group of well-dressed young men carrying silenced pistols arrived at an apartment complex in Baghdad’s Eastern Zayouna neighborhood. They went straight to a nearby generator building — Baghdad has generators every few blocks because the electric grid is so unreliable — where men waiting to break their Ramadan fast had watched them arrive on a flickery black-and-white monitor linked to a CCTV feed.
The gunmen told everyone there that they had a warrant for the arrest of two terrorists living nearby, and politely advised them to stay inside for their own safety. The men in the generator building did as they were told — they assumed the new arrivals were from the Iraqi National Intelligence Service (INIS).
But they weren’t INIS. And instead of hunting terrorists, the men went to a brothel housed in a sun-faded building in the complex then murdered the 29 women — all suspected prostitutes — and between three and five men they found inside. The slaughter took 10 minutes. When they’d finished, they went back to the generator building, asked for the security camera footage, and politely apologized for any inconvenience they had caused.
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The massacre was widely reported, but details have been scant. Even now, more than two weeks later, there are police checkpoints on the way to the area and members of the press have been turned away while attempting to reach the scene. VICE News was recently able to sneak into the complex and speak to residents and eyewitnesses. All of their names have been withheld to protect them against reprisals.