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Massacre on Abu Taleb street: Collateral damage in Baghdad

March 2003: Robert Fisk ventures into the aftermath of a massacre in Iraq

Sunday 17 April 2022 00:37
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<p>The injured are helped away after one of several US missile attacks in Baghdad on 26 March 2003 </p>

The injured are helped away after one of several US missile attacks in Baghdad on 26 March 2003

It was an outrage. An obscenity. The severed hand on the metal door, the swamp of blood and mud across the road, the human brains inside the garage, the incinerated, skeletal remains of an Iraqi mother and her three small children in their still-smouldering car.

A dirt-poor neighbourhood, of mostly Shia Muslims, the same people who Messrs Bush and Blair still fondly hope will rise up against President Saddam Hussein, a place of oil-sodden car-repair shops, overcrowded apartments and cheap cafés. Everyone I spoke to heard the plane. One man, so shocked by the headless corpses he had just seen, could only say two words. “Roar, flash,” he kept saying and then closed his eyes so tight that the muscles rippled between them.

How should one record so terrible an event? Perhaps a medical report would be more appropriate. But the final death toll is expected to be near to 30 and Iraqis are now witnessing these awful things each day; so there is no reason why the truth, all the truth, of what they see should not be told.

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