Europarliament Official Says Thousands of Civilians Dead
BONN, Germany (AP) _ U.S. bombing raids on Iraq have killed or wounded thousands of civilians and there are not enough doctors, electricity or running water to care for the injured, a European Parliament member said Tuesday.
Dieter Schinzel, a specialist on the Middle East, said two Iraqis who fled to Jordan from Baghdad had telephoned him with details of the situation. He belongs to the opposition Social Demcratic Party, which opposes the war.
Spokesmen for the German government and the Defense Ministry said they had no information on Schinzel’s claims.
Neither the Iraqis nor the Americans have spoken of such high casualties.
Schinzel accused both the United States and Iraq of playing a ″computer game″ by discussing only the number of sorties and jets downed and not speaking of human casualties.
He said in a telephone interview that the United States’ motive was to maintain support for the war, and Iraq’s was to keep morale from plummeting.
The two Iraqis called him because relatives knew him from his many trips to Iraq, Schinzel said. They told him, he said, that the damage to downtown Baghdad was not great but outlying regions of the country had been devastated and ″several thousand″ civilians were dead or wounded.
That was as specific as his informants could be about casualties, he said.
Later Tuesday, Schinzel met with the Iraqi ambassador to Bonn for an hour. He said afterward he had no new information on casualties and that there was no change in Iraq’s position.
Schinzel said the men who telephoned him lived in southern Iraq, but traveled to Baghdad on Sunday en route to Jordan.
″They told me that in the center of Baghdad there are some buildings destroyed ... but in the regions, the areas, of Baghdad there are many, many problems,″ he said. ″Many buildings, not only strategic buildings, are destroyed. Also those where people are living.″
This is because B-52 bombers ″are not able to aim only at a certain strategic point, so they’re bombing in the area,″ he said. ″So they have many, many deaths of civilians and people who are injured.″
″There’s problems with the infrastructure,″ Schinzel said. ″They told me that they think the infrastructure has also been destroyed for helping the people.″
″They can’t get doctors to the areas. They have problems with transport and they have problems ... with obtaining the necessary medical equipment,″ Schinzel said from his office in Aachen, near the Dutch border.
″They also have no water and no electricity,″ and telephones, when working, can only make short-range calls, he said.