AFP reportage on missile hit

loupaulsen at loupaulsen at
Wed Mar 26 10:24:49 MST 2003

I'm pasting the whole thing because I don't know if the Yahoo link will be
stable.  You won't read an article like this at

Amid the rubble and the dead, cries of grief and rage
16 minutes ago  Add Mideast - AFP to My Yahoo!

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Tawfiq Radi Farhan, a street vendor, said he watched them
slaughtered before his very own eyes.

"I was sitting outside when the missile hit," he said Wednesday, still
shaken. "Cars caught fire and I myself saw people martyred and wounded. Thank
God I didn't get hurt."

This working-class Baghdad neighbourhood known as "the city of the people" was
picking up the pieces, in grief and in rage, after a US-led bombing raid
smashed into apartment blocks Wednesday, killing 14 people and wounding 30.

Piles of rubble lay in the street, as a dull rain watered down the pools of
blood. Something far heavier than the debris weighed on people's hearts.

"They say they only aim at military targets," shouted Ali Sami, who said he
was a loyal supporter of Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s Baath party. "And
then they launch bombs on our women and children."

US President George W. Bush (news - web sites) "will be crushed under our
boots!" one man wailed.

Friends and neighbours pitched in to try to salvage the remaining belongings
of those who lived, and console the relatives of those who didn't.

Seif Jamal, a 20-year-old student, rushed down his narrow stairway carrying a
charred television on his shoulder.

"A missile landed on the sidewalk and the shrapnel flew into our house," he
said. "My other electronic equipment is burnt, and lots of furniture."

The devastation came just before midday. Abdul Jabbar Ali, a mechanic, said he
was with his family when the attack pounded the apartments, wiping out his
garage on the ground floor.

"Miraculously, we lived. Whole sections of walls were crashing down around me,
doors and windows were demolished," said Ali, who escaped with bruises. His
wife and daughter-in-law were taken to hospital wounded, and his son had a
bandaged eye.

Ali said he saw innocent people incinerated in their cars, and two men killed
who were having lunch in the cafe next door.

Far away, US commanders shrugged off responsibility.

"I don't know those (missiles) were ours," Brigadier General Vincent Brooks
told reporters. "Can't say we had anything to do with it."

For the hundreds who quickly gathered here amid the wreckage to protest, such
words, if they could have heard them, would have rung hollow.

Young firebrands waved machine guns, old ladies shouted -- all of them venting
their fury at the American president, and their undying support for their own.

They chanted: "Bush, Bush, listen! We all love Saddam Hussein!"

They cried: "We sacrifice our blood and our souls for Saddam Hussein!"

And one old woman, veiled in black, moved carefully through the mud and broken
pavement, repeating, almost to herself: "Iraq will be victorious."

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