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Last Updated:  Sunday, 6 April, 2003, 17:14 GMT 18:14 UK
'Friendly fire' hits Kurdish convoy
Kurdish special forces commander Wajy Barzani, brother of Massoud Barzani, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)
Massoud Barzani's brother was wounded in the attack
An American warplane has bombed a Kurdish convoy in northern Iraq which had been joined by members of US special forces, killing several people.

The BBC's world affairs editor John Simpson, who was travelling with the convoy, says he counted at least 10 bodies and several others were wounded.

It is the latest in a series of "friendly fire" incidents involving coalition forces during the Iraqi conflict.

Kurdish military commander Wajy Barzani, brother of the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), was wounded in the attack.

The US military acknowledged that coalition aircraft were conducting close air support at the time of the incident, and said it was investigating the incident.

'Scene from hell'

The incident occurred about 30 miles (48km) south east of Mosul, as the convoy was heading towards the town of Diberjan, a town recently captured by the Kurdish forces from Iraqi soldiers.

Image showing vehicle destroyed by coalition bomb

Mr Simpson said the convoy had joined up with another US special forces group of vehicles, and all parties had just got out of their vehicles, when a US special forces soldier called in an air strike after spotting an Iraqi tank in the distance.

Our correspondent, who suffered minor injuries in the attack, said a bomb was dropped from a US plane only 10 to 12 feet (about four metres) from where he was standing.

'FRIENDLY FIRE' INCIDENTS
6 April: US/Kurdish convoy attacked by US jet
3 April: US soldier killed by US ground forces
3 April: US ground forces attacked by US jet, 3 killed
28 March: UK vehicles attacked by US jet, 1 killed
25 March: UK tank fires on another British tank, 2 killed
23 March: UK jet shot down by US missile, 2 killed

He described a "scene from hell", with all the vehicles in the convoy on fire and bodies - American and Kurdish - lying around and others burning to death right in front of him.

Those who survived suffered only light shrapnel injuries and perforated eardrums.

But despite the efforts of US special forces' medics, Mr Simpson's translator died from injuries caused by a large piece of shrapnel which hit him in the lower legs.

Kurdish forces, backed by the US, are advancing south from their self-ruled enclave in northern Iraq on the cities of Mosul and Kirkuk, held by Saddam Hussein's forces.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's John Simpson
"The bomb had landed only 10 yards away from us"


The BBC's John Simpson, moments after the attack




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