58 dead in Baghdad market bombing

John M Cox coxj at email.unc.edu
Sat Mar 29 14:26:51 MST 2003


http://www.guardian.co.uk

58 dead in market bombing

Staff and agencies
Saturday March 29, 2003

An explosion in a busy Baghdad marketplace has killed at least 50 people
and left scores more wounded.
Iraqi officials claimed the carnage was caused by a stray coalition cruise
missile, but there was no immediate comment at US Central Command in
Qatar.

Late last night doctors at Baghdad's al-Noor Hospital said they had seen
52 corpses, by this morning the reported death toll had risen to 58 with
many more injured.

Iraqi information minister Mohammad Saeed al-Sahaf told reporters in a
briefing on Saturday morning that 68 civilians had been killed and 107
wounded over Friday night and Saturday morning in Baghdad.

Crowds gathered in Baghdad on Saturday as the first funerals of the Shula
marketplace victims were due to take place.

Arabic language television station al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya reported on
the bombing, in the Shula neighbourhood of the capital. Al-Jazeera
television showed the injured, many of them children, lying in hospital
beds with bandages on their heads and faces.

"An Iraqi official told us that the search is still going on for those
trapped under the rubble," said the correspondent for al-Jazeera.

If the number of casualties is confirmed, it will be the largest number of
civilians killed in one incident so far in the conflict.

Earlier, Reuters reported that an air strike on a Baghdad neighbourhood
office of the ruling Ba'ath party had killed eight people, including
several civilians.

Residents of the capital's Mansour district told Reuters that the strike
took place at around noon local time, destroying several houses as well as
the party offices. Witnesses said that the bodies of several civilians,
along with those of Ba'ath party militia members, were pulled from the
rubble.

Last night's bombardment was one of the heaviest since the start of "shock
and awe" campaign.

In one raid, a US stealth bomber dropped two huge "bunker-busting" bombs
on a communications tower in the capital. Cameras mounted on the
information ministry building showed the impact of a blast from a missile
as it hit the building. The US military said that Iraqi command centres
were also targeted.

Fresh explosions are reported to have taken place on the outskirts of
Baghdad this afternoon.

News agency Reuters said one of its correspondents had heard four
explosions as well as anti-aircraft fire in Iraq's capital shortly after
4.30pm (1330 GMT).



John Cox
Chapel Hill, NC

"If the truth is 'un-American,' then blame the truth, don't blame
me."Malcolm X


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