Air Raids Pound Baghdad, Arabic TV Says 50 Dead
Friday 28 March 2003
BAGHDAD - Fresh explosions shook the Iraqi capital Friday night and Air Raids Pound Baghdad, Arabic TV Says 50 Dead Arabic-language television stations said more than 50 Iraqis had been killed in what they said was an air raid on a marketplace in the city.
Al-Jazeera's correspondent said 51 Iraqis had been killed and 49 wounded in the market in the city's Shula neighborhood.
"An Iraqi official told us that the search is still going on for those trapped under the rubble," he said and showed pictures of bodies, including those of two children.
Dubai-based Al-Arabiya television reported 52 dead and showed pictures of injured at a hospital. Iraqi government officials were not immediately available for comment.
Abu Dhabi television said U.S. cruise missiles may have hit the market and showed a gaping hole on one street and damaged cars.
An Iraqi woman was shown on Jazeera hitting herself in the face repeatedly as she stared through a window at a wounded young man lying in a hospital bed. A group of men shouted "There is no God but God" as they stood beside an ambulance.
Reuters correspondent Nadim Ladki said a series of blasts hit the city after nightfall after U.S. and British bombs and missiles had pounded the capital in the heaviest day of raids since the war began nine days ago.
Earlier Friday, the Muslim holy day, residents said eight people died in a raid on a Baath party office.
U.S. defense officials said a radar-avoiding B-2 stealth bomber had dropped two 4,600-pound bombs -- known as bunker-busters -- on a communications center in downtown Baghdad.
Iraq swore to fight on and promised "living hell" for the invaders.
Ladki quoted residents as saying the attack on the Baath office in Baghdad's Mansour district at around noon demolished the party's neighborhood office and several nearby houses.
"It basically turned the block into rubble," Ladki said. Local residents said they had pulled eight bodies from the wreckage, including Baath Party militia members and several civilians.
A large fire blazed on the west bank of the Tigris River and thick, billowing smoke rose on the horizon after dozens of blasts in the eastern and southern fringes of the capital.
Iraqi defense positions spat anti-aircraft fire above the rooftops as U.S. missiles hit government offices, including the ministries of information, planning and foreign affairs.
The U.S. military said two precision-guided missiles from one of its bat-wing, radar-evading B-2 stealth bombers had taken out a key communications tower on the east bank of the Tigris.
Ladki said at least one missile plowed into the ground floor of a large telecommunications building in Rashid Street.
Militiamen cleared rubble from the smashed and smoldering al-Alawiya telecommunications center in nearby Saadun Street.
"This is a civilian communications center, why did they hit it?" said one resident. "It seems the serious military action in Baghdad is getting nearer."
The raids knocked out many telephone lines -- some of the first bombing damage to civilian infrastructure.
Huge plumes of black smoke from burning oil pits, lit by Iraqi forces to try to hamper U.S. and British pilots, clouded the otherwise clear blue skies over the city.
Hundreds of ruling Baath party militiamen armed with AK-47 assault rifles guarded government buildings and manned sandbag positions in public squares and gardens.
Explosions seemed to come from all sides during one concentrated phase of bombing in the early hours of the morning, raising orange-glowing clouds into the night skies.
As dawn broke over the city of five million, the explosions sounded closer to the city's outskirts where units of President Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard are believed to be dug in.
The Al-Salam presidential palace, first hit last week, suffered fresh damage overnight and the muezzin of a mosque nearby hurled defiance through its loudspeakers: "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest).
Earlier, a flurry of blasts was clearly audible during a live television interview by Iraqi Information Minister Mohammad Saeed al-Sahaf, who said his country would not be intimidated.
"It will become obvious to the world that they (U.S. and British forces) have entered (Iraq) with a kind of stupidity based on a simple idea that 'shock and awe' will make Iraqis kneel," he said, the night sky briefly illuminated behind him.
Missile Lands Close to Kuwait City Mall
Friday 28 March 2003
KUWAIT - Debris lay scattered around a Kuwait City shopping mall on Saturday, Reuters correspondents at the scene said, after a blast that witnesses said was caused by a missile that landed nearby.
Reuters correspondent William Maclean said the Al-Sharqiah cinema, which was part of the seafront mall in the Souq Sharq district, showed signs of damage to its frontage and roofing but it was unclear whether it had been struck by a missile.
There was a smell of smoke in the area.
A policeman at the scene told Reuters he had seen a missile land in the sea. Other witnesses said the missile appeared to fly in over the sea from the direction of Iraq's Faw peninsula.
Several missiles have been launched at Kuwait from Iraq since the U.S. -led war against Iraq began. Kuwaiti officials say previous missiles launched at Kuwait have all been shot down by Patriot batteries or landed harmlessly in unpopulated areas.
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