'We lived in safety until the ceasefire'
The casings, which came up to the shoulder of the young man who stood them up to display them, were marked with those precise instructions on handling that American munitions manufacturers paint on. A few yards on lay the nose-cone, the stabiliser fins, and the complex proximity fuse. Iraqi sappers had placed stakes with red flags to mark unexploded bomblets, still attached to their miniature nylon parachutes to regulate their descent.
The Iraqis were keen to show that their version of what happened on Thursday was correct. The Americans were insisting that an Iraqi radar had locked on to one of their planes, that they had fired a missile, and taken out the Iraqi missile battery. They also eventually said they had dropped a cluster bomb.
The Iraqi version was very different. They said that no radar had locked on to any aircraft of the US, French or British air forces patrolling the no-fly zone north of the 36th parallel; that no missiles had been fired, and no missile batteries hit; only, according to the Iraqis, a cluster bomb dropped on agricultural land.
The Iraqis would not show us up to see the radar atop the line of hillocks, some 20 kilometres inside the no-fly zone. But they insisted there were no missile batteries for at least 30 kilometres.
According to the local area air defence commander, Lieutenant Colonel Abdul Illah Danoun, 'the radar are for use in peace and war'. His equipment included line-of-sight and multiplex communications systems. He said his radar was working all the time, and had always been, for civilian purposes. But it was not connected with any missiles or air defence system.
'All the missile batteries had received orders not to open fire at any time on any planes. The missile batteries received orders not to turn on their radars.'
Military men and local farmers explained how there had been no military target in the area. As they spoke, an allied warplane roared high in the sky, banked, turned, and flew off back to the north.
A farmer, Ali Hussein Ali, vented his feelings about the Americans. He had returned to the land after 12 years in the army. 'In the name of God, the Americans put their feet on our chests. Two years ago they dropped another bomb near my house. I use the casing as a feeding trough for my cows and sheep.'
Abu Faris, the village Mukhtar of Bakhera, 10 miles south of Mosul, was equally outspoken. 'We were living in safety until the ceasefire was announced two days ago. Why do they treat us like this? We are simply families. The plane struck and then flew away. This is only farmland.'
- 1 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 4 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...
£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...