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Meet the Little Girl Killed by a US Missile: Tracing One Tragic Story in Our Horrific Drone War



Around midnight on May 21, 2010, a girl named Fatima was killed when a succession of U.S.-made Hellfire missiles, each of them five-feet long and traveling at close to 1,000 miles per hour, smashed a compound of houses in a mountain village of Mohammed Khel in North Waziristan along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Wounded in the explosions which killed a half dozen men, Fatima and two other children were taken to a nearby hospital where they died a few hours later.

Behram Noor, a Pakistani journalist, went to the hospital and took a picture of Fatima shortly before her death, then went back to the scene of the explosions looking for evidence that might show who was responsible for the attack. In the rubble, he found a mechanism from a U.S.-made Hellfire missile, and gave it to Reprieve, a British organization opposed to capital punishment, which shared photographs of the material with Salon. Stafford Smith alluded to the missile fragments in an Op-Ed piece for the New York Times last fall. They have also been displayed in England.

“Forensically, it is important to show how the crime of murder happened (which is what it is here),” said Reprieve executive director Clive Stafford Smith in an email. “One almost always uses the murder weapon in a case. But perhaps more important I think this physical proof — this missile killed this child — is important to have people take it seriously.”

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