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[casi] Christian Translator Killed in Iraq, Branded as a Traitor

Christian Translator Killed in Iraq, Branded as a Traitor

Associated Press (3 October)

Napoleon, a translator for the U.S. Army, was shot to death, along with his
16-year-old son, early Thursday in Khaldiyah by four men. The victims were
sleeping on the sidewalk next to their house to escape the heat.

Napoleon's family is Christian and uses Western names, hence his unusual
name. Relatives set up a tent outside his home to receive condolences next
to a wall riddled with bullet holes and stained with dried blood.

''He was killed because he was a spy and a traitor,'' said a neighbor. He
and other townspeople spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing they might be
targeted in any vendetta.

Since the ouster of Saddam Hussein's regime and the capture of Baghdad in
early April, Fallujah and Khaldiyah, part of the notorious ''Sunni
Triangle,'' have become a center for anti-American sentiment, with attacks
against U.S. troops an almost daily occurrence.

Working with the U.S. troops is risky business in the region, with vendors
advised against selling much-needed ice to the Americans. U.S. soldiers also
have been refused entry to some restaurants in Fallujah.

Even motorists are warned to stay well away from U.S. military convoys
passing through the area.

Napoleon's family say he was killed not because he was working for the
Americans, but because he was a member of the country's Christian minority.

Napoleon was a former major in Saddam Hussein's al-Quds ( Jerusalem ) Army,
a militia force that supposedly included millions of volunteer fighters as a
backup to the regular army.

''He was my officer in the al-Quds Army, and we considered him part of our
family, until he began working with the Americans,'' said the neighbor, a

Others in the area said Napoleon was warned several times to quit his job
with the Americans, including once when a percussion grenade was thrown next
to his house.

''Warning leaflets were sent to him, and people talked to him, asked him to
quit, but he wouldn't. I think he was happy with the wages,'' said another

Translators are paid an average of $300 a month, a large sum by Iraqi

Napoleon's brother blamed the Americans for his brother's death.

''When the Americans kill Muslims, we pay the price. Muslims can't get to
the Americans, so they target the Christians,'' he said.

Neighbors insist otherwise.

''Why wasn't his brother killed? It was not his religion that killed him, it
was his line of work. That was his doom,'' said the carpenter.

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