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The Sunni Heartland

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You can't bear it anymore...

A few blocks away from the school, a wealthy Falluja merchant opens the heavy lock on his front door for visitors.

Mohammed al Asawi says the shooting at the school changed Falluja - convincing many they had to drive the Americans out of their town.

photo: Tom Bullock

"It didn't change people," says al Asawi, "it shocked the people about the reality of the Americans. That massacre that happened was horrible."

In the family kitchen, his wife and daughters prepare lunch over a gas stove. Since the end of the war, electricity is sporadic, so is the water, necessities Iraqi's took for granted before the war.

And there are the periodic house-to-house searches by American soldiers, usually in the middle of the night: kicking in doors, looking for weapons. And when U.S. soldiers put their boots on the back of men's heads, there is no greater humiliation, says al Asawi, because Islam forbids putting the forehead on the ground except in prayer.

"The tanks are all the time in the streets," continues al Asawi, "the Apaches, the fighter planes, it gets so miserable that you would go out in the streets and strike them and attack them because you can't bear it anymore."

Next: Struggling to win hearts and minds

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