The Strange and Tragic Case of Raed Mahmoud Ajil

This is one of the strangest and one of the most tragic stories to come out of Iraq since the war started.

An Iraqi Council member - by all reports friendly and helpful to the American military - went berserk and sprayed an automatic weapon into a group of US soldiers killing two and wounding several others.

Friends, family members, and US military personnel were stunned. Mr. Ajil, a Sunni, had been on friendly terms with Americans and was handling a
reconstruction project:

Ajil's colleagues said they could think of no motive for the deadly rampage, which is thought to be the first incident of a U.S.-allied Iraqi politician carrying out such an attack. Ajil comes from a distinguished Sunni Muslim family. His brother is security chief for the Iraqi Ministry of Justice and a cousin is a high-ranking judge, relatives said.

Ajil's family said that he'd suffered from bouts of depression and sporadic epileptic seizures, which he masked in his role as a public servant. Relatives knew him to be friendly to U.S. troops and said he had no qualms about working alongside them, even though many in this mixed Sunni-Shiite Muslim town view American forces as occupiers.

"(The Americans) used to love him. They gave him a contract for a project he was working on. He spoke English fluently with them and they used to like him so much," said Sherif Abdullah Aziz, 47, a cousin. "There is no explanation that we know of for what happened."

Fadil Ahmed Abed, a Sunni council member who was formerly the chairman, said members of the council met with the Americans at about 10 a.m. after a ceremony to open a new city park. Abed said Ajil had sat silent during the meeting except when his signature was required for a school maintenance project. The meeting ran until about 1 p.m. As the Americans were walking out of the heavily guarded council headquarters, the shootings began.

Perhaps an autopsy would shed light on what happened to Mr. Ajil. One thing is sure; we have lost a valuable friend and ally in the struggle as well as two  American servicemen who didn't have to die.
This is one of the strangest and one of the most tragic stories to come out of Iraq since the war started.

An Iraqi Council member - by all reports friendly and helpful to the American military - went berserk and sprayed an automatic weapon into a group of US soldiers killing two and wounding several others.

Friends, family members, and US military personnel were stunned. Mr. Ajil, a Sunni, had been on friendly terms with Americans and was handling a
reconstruction project:

Ajil's colleagues said they could think of no motive for the deadly rampage, which is thought to be the first incident of a U.S.-allied Iraqi politician carrying out such an attack. Ajil comes from a distinguished Sunni Muslim family. His brother is security chief for the Iraqi Ministry of Justice and a cousin is a high-ranking judge, relatives said.

Ajil's family said that he'd suffered from bouts of depression and sporadic epileptic seizures, which he masked in his role as a public servant. Relatives knew him to be friendly to U.S. troops and said he had no qualms about working alongside them, even though many in this mixed Sunni-Shiite Muslim town view American forces as occupiers.

"(The Americans) used to love him. They gave him a contract for a project he was working on. He spoke English fluently with them and they used to like him so much," said Sherif Abdullah Aziz, 47, a cousin. "There is no explanation that we know of for what happened."

Fadil Ahmed Abed, a Sunni council member who was formerly the chairman, said members of the council met with the Americans at about 10 a.m. after a ceremony to open a new city park. Abed said Ajil had sat silent during the meeting except when his signature was required for a school maintenance project. The meeting ran until about 1 p.m. As the Americans were walking out of the heavily guarded council headquarters, the shootings began.

Perhaps an autopsy would shed light on what happened to Mr. Ajil. One thing is sure; we have lost a valuable friend and ally in the struggle as well as two  American servicemen who didn't have to die.