Independent reporters in Iraq have discovered that the battle between a messianic cult and U.S.-Iraqi forces was a cover-up. With a possible motive of suppressing Shia-Sunni unity which was growing in the area of Najaf.
"We were going to conduct the usual ceremonies that we conduct every year when we were attacked by Iraqi soldiers," Jabbar al-Hatami, a leader of the al-Hatami Shia Arab tribe (supposed 'cult') said.
"We thought it was one of the usual mistakes of the Iraqi army killing civilians, so we advanced to explain to the soldiers that they killed five of us for no reason. But we were surprised by more gunfire from the soldiers."
From another eyewitness to the tragedy: "American helicopters participated in the slaughter," Jassim Abbas, a farmer from the area said. "They were soon there to kill those pilgrims without hesitation, but they were never there for helping Iraqis in anything they need. We just watched them getting killed group by group while trapped in those plantations."