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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 25 March, 2003, 10:59 GMT
Eyewitness: Visiting Baghdad's wounded
Men in Baghdad examine a house reportedly destroyed by a missile
One woman said the ceiling had fallen on their heads
BBC World Service reporter and Baghdad resident Subhy Haddad has been to visit civilians injured in air raids on the city:

I was taken with several other journalists by the Iraqi Ministry of Information to visit the al-Nouman hospital in northern Baghdad.

A surgeon in the hospital, Issam Jassim Hadi, said 29 people had been injured in a missile or bomb attack on northern Baghdad at noon (0900 GMT). Five of the injured died on the way to hospital, he said.

The surgeon said most of those injured by these attacks, which destroyed at least seven houses, were children and women. Most of them were seriously wounded.

Residential area

We interviewed some of the injured who were able to speak. One of them, a 12-year-old girl, Shad Khalil, said that all the six members of her family were seriously injured when the missiles fell on the area she lives in.

Among the injured was a 40-year-old woman called Thana Wahid Jassim who works as an engineer in a local private company.

Women at al-Nouman hospital wait for news of wounded relatives
Women at al-Nouman hospital wait for news of wounded relatives
She said a missile had fallen on her house. All the members of her family, including her husband, were seriously injured, she told us. Her husband was undergoing surgery.

She said the blast was so strong that the ceiling fell on their heads.

We asked some of the injured whether there were any military targets in the area.

They all said the only famous building in the area was the Royal Cemetery, where the old kings of Iraq are buried.

It is a residential area - I know it very well.

Believing the US

Also, it seems some of the missiles fell on residential areas but they did not explode.

Civil defence forces are trying to defuse them and take them away.

A boy is treated in al-Noumen hospital
An injured boy is treated in al-Nouman hospital
Do the people on the streets believe America is trying to avoid civilian casualties? It is hard to see how when they see residential areas being hit.

The Iraqi people are hearing the reports of fighting in the towns in the south and moving towards Baghdad - even the president talked about them in his speech on Monday.

The Iraqi reports said the Americans had not been able to break through the barriers of the main cities in southern and western Iraq.

Street fighting fears

According to foreign reports the troops are about 100km from Baghdad now.

A women in Baghdad covers her face against smoke from Iraqi defences
Smoke from Iraqi defences is hanging over the city
There are heavy defences around Baghdad.

People in Baghdad are very worried. They are expecting hard times to come, even worse than the bombardment.

But what preparations can they make? Ordinary people are just trying to hide themselves in cellars, or in bunkers or shelters during the bombing.

I cannot imagine what they would do if there was street fighting.

The movements of BBC reporters in Baghdad may be restricted and their reports are monitored by the Iraqi authorities.


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