Waving white flags and raising their hands to the sky, hundreds of Iraqi soldiers quickly surrendered to US and British forces in southern Iraq on Friday and some even tried to give themselves up to Western journalists.
One US Marines traffic control unit manning an intersection in
southern Iraq accepted at least 45 soldiers' surrender by sundown. Many of the Iraqis were crammed in the backs of a pickup truck and an open-bed trailer, their hands raised. Iraqi officers came in behind, apparently on foot.
Marines pulled the prisoners to the side of the road.
"Hands up!" Marines barked, pushing the Iraqis along.
Skinny, reedy boys who appeared to be still in their teens complied. The US troops searched them and sat them down.
Across the road, three Iraqi lieutenant colonels sprawled briefly on the asphalt to be searched. An Arabic-speaking Marine searched the papers of the officers for intelligence information, then handed back their personal effects.
"Man, I've been in country two hours, and already I've got two wounded and a truckload of prisoners," one Marine, standing guard over the prisoners with weapon ready, told another.
US Marines rolled bales of concertina wire toward the prisoners and planned to keep them in a temporary facility until camps could open up.
Some of the Iraqis who gave themselves up were wearing T-shirts and other civilian clothes instead of military uniforms.