CP Reporter Tells of Iraqi Damage
TORONTO (AP) _ An Iraqi told a Canadian Press reporter how his relatives moved from Baghdad to escape the bombing but their sanctuary - another relative’s home - was bombed by allied aircraft.
Mohammad Al-Habboubi, an engineer, was quoted by the CP report as saying he rushed outside when he heard bombs falling Jan. 20 in An Najaf, 90 miles south of Baghdad.
When he arrived at his cousin’s home, he found it had received a direct hit, he said. Iraqi officials have said 13 of the 14 people inside were killed, among 35 victims of the attack.
The CP correspondent, Leila Deeb, a Jordanian, was taken to the destroyed home and other damaged areas of An Najaf on Saturday by Iraqi officials.
The Canadian Press said it was not known whether the dispatch had been subjected to Iraqi censorship.
Correspondent Peter Arnett of the Cable News Network, one of the other remaining foreign correspondents in Baghdad, has said their movements are limited and their work overseen by Iraqi authorities, but few changes are made in their reports.
The Iraqis contend many attacks by U.S. and allied warplanes have damaged residential and other non-military locations in Iraq. The command of Operation Desert Storm, the anti-Iraq coalition, says it has targeted only military and other strategic sites, although officers acknowledge that civilians inevitably will suffer in such widespread bombing.
On Saturday, outside the home, pillowslips, a shoe, a shirt, a few blankets, two Korans and many books and magazines were in a pile, CP reported.
A woman stood by wailing and asking how a holy city could be attacked, CP reported.
An Najaf is holy to Shiite Muslims. It is where Ali ibn Abi Taleb, the son- in-law of the Prophet Mohammed, is buried.
Along the road back to Baghdad, vapor trails from planes criss-crossed the sky and a black smoke line marked the destruction of a plane or a missile, the report said.
At the Al-Rashid Hotel in Baghdad, where the CP reporter is staying, the air raid sirens sounded again Saturday evening and the air was filled with the sound of explosions and the pounding of anti-aircraft guns.