On March 22, Stewart Vriesinga and Wade Hudson toured a residential neighborhood about two blocks west of 14 July Bridge.Street, between Amar Bin Yasir Street and Jamiaa Street. They drove by an eight-to-twelve-foot-deep crater in the middle of a wide, divided street that connected these latter two streets. Traffic in the westerly direction was blocked. They saw large gardens on both sides of this crater. No building was within eyesight of the crater. Mr. Mohammed, IPT’s principal driver, said that the gardens were not public parks, but private gardens associated with private homes, one of which is owned by an uncle of his. Around the corner on Jamiaa street, many smaller homes had had all of their front windows blown out, presumably by a blast from the bomb that created the crater.
Although this incident does not suggest either the strong possibility of civilian injuries or major damage to civilian infrastructure, it does illustrate once again that some bombs either do not hit their intended target or are directed to non-military targets.
On March 22, April Hurley, Zehira Houfani, and Robert Turcotte saw, around the corner from a street with buildings that appeared to be governmental offices, a whole block of mixed residential-commercial units with almost all of their windows knocked out.
On March 23, several IPT members, including Doug Johnson, Robert Turcotte, and Jooneed Jeeroburkhan went to the Alyarmouk hospital. This university teaching hospital, one of the largest and most modern in Iraq, is one of three medical centers prepared by the authorities to receive victims of the American attack; the two others are Al Mansur and Al Kindi hospitals. Many foreign doctors and surgeons, Americans included, are in Bagdad to offer their services to these hospitals in the war context.
One of the patients was Rahab Wedad Mohammad, age 25,who had just come out of surgery under general anesthesia. Her right cheek was swollen and her right forearm was heavily bandaged. According to the lady doctor, she had severed tendons which they had to sew back, together with nerves and blood vessels, in the women’s section of the hospital.
According to answers to our questions, Rahab was at her home, in the esidential district of Hayy Jamiya, when a bomb hit nearby. It was Saturday night, on the 3rd day of US bombing, and she was hit by shrapnel that severed the tendons on her right arm.
Zaha Seheil lay quietly on a bed opposite. She is six years old. The doctor said that she was hit in the back, suffering spinal injury that has made her paraplegic. In the men’s section, Rusul Salim Abbas, 10 years old, had been hit by shrapnel in the chest and on the right hand. That was on Friday night, when the bombing was the heaviest for four hours continuously. <He went to close the door when he was hit, says Salim, his father, seated on the edge of his bed.
Salah Mehdi, aged 33, was walking on the street Saturday night in the residential district of Amariya when a missile exploded nearby. <I just saw a huge fireball and I lost consciousness, he says with difficulty. He had been hit by shrapnel in the stomach, on the right hand and on the right ear.
On the next bed, Omar`Ali, 12 years old, was one of 12 members of his family injured Friday night in the residential district of Al Shorta when a bomb hit near their house. There also also Majid Mahmoud, aged 57 and father of two, injured the very first night of bombing, and Hussein Jassim Fleh, aged 36 and father of a young daughter, injured Saturday night in the back, and on both arms and legs.
Was the shrapnel from US missiles and bombs, or from falling Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery? Given the delicate hospital conditions in which these visits were made, and the lack of expert ballistics evidence, it is difficult to tell what actually caused these injuries, and scores of others in hospitals across the country,. <Whatever the origin of the shrapnel, Bush must bear full responsibility because he chose to impose this war on Iraq. These people would not have been injured otherwise, commented an Iraqi TV reporter filming the wounded.
Members of the delegation were able to take photos of some of the injuries.
On March 24, several IPT members were taken on a tour of sites that have been bombed recently. These sites included one entire block in the Karadat Miryam district that included three- and four-floor buildings with commercial storefronts on the ground floor and residential dwellings on the upper floors. No military or governmental sites were noticed nearby. Almost all of the windows and frames and the iron gates that covered windows in these buildings had been knocked out on all floors. At least some injuries likely resulted from the tremendous blast(s) that caused this extensive damage
On March 24, an IPT team went to a home that had been hit by what appeared to be a missile. The house was a 2-story home in a residential neighborhood. The weapon came through the roof and landed in a second-floor room that appeared to be a bedroom. There was what seemed to be a picture on the wall of some female pop star. The team was unable to meet any of the family who were in the home at the time of the attack; they are now staying with family members. A brother of the owner gave us an account, which was recorded in Arabic and will be translated later. He said the weapon hit about 7:30pm on Saturday, March 22, as the family was eating dinner, or getting ready for dinner. There were no serious injuries even though there were 8 people in the home at the time.