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Last Updated: Monday, 28 April, 2003, 15:20 GMT 16:20 UK
Brothers head for Iraq funeral of 10
By Duncan Walker
BBC News Online

Bomb site
The rubble that was once Abid's home
The British family of 10 Iraqis mistakenly killed in a coalition attack are returning to Basra for the funeral.

Brothers Sudad, Anam, and Mazin Hamoodi had feared that red tape would stop them getting the visas they needed to reach the ceremony, which was originally planned for Sunday.

They will now leave for the postponed service on Tuesday morning, but are angry about the delay and say they are still to receive an apology over the deaths.

Sudad, 42, told BBC News Online he was preparing to take legal action over the matter, and added: "I don't think anybody cares to be honest. We have to carry on living, but we feel empty, we feel dead inside."

He said it was essential they reach Iraq to support their father, 72-year-old Abid Hassan Hamoodi, who survived the 5 April attack which killed his wife, son, daughter and seven grandchildren.

The family did not know that coalition forces had intelligence that 'Chemical Ali' - Saddam Hussein's cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid - was sleeping in the house next door and that they had decided to attack.

'Numb'

The Hamoodi brothers, who have been in Britain since the 1980s and live in Manchester, will fly to Kuwait from London's Heathrow airport.

Abid Hassan Hamoodi

They hope to reach Basra on Wednesday, after which the funeral will be held as soon as possible.

Sudad said: "I want to bury my family in a humane manner - it's a very difficult time, we still feel numb."

He added that surviving members of the family in Iraq were "very upset" and that they "need me there very urgently" to arrange the funeral.

Sudad said the British Government had not done enough to help them get visas as soon as possible.

Speaking as he waited for news on their visa applications last week, he said: "Quite a lot of people have gone [back to Iraq] from the Iraqi opposition. We are in special circumstances. Why can't we?"

In response the UK Foreign Office said it was doing all it could and that both the Kuwaiti Embassy and the Kuwaiti foreign ministry had been made aware of the "compassionate" and urgent nature of the case.

'No life'

Sudad said there would be many hard decisions to make once the funeral was held.

I want to bury my family and then I will come back and take this matter further
Sudad Hamoodi

He wants to bring his father back to the UK for a short time and has asked for permission on compassionate grounds.

The British-based brothers had thought about a possible return to Iraq, but Sudad said this was now out of the question.

"There's no life for us, because we were so close," he said.

"We were hoping the regime would collapse and then we could go back and buy a house."

'No apology'

The Hamoodi brothers are also planning to take action over their relations' deaths.

Sudad said he had written to officials in the both the UK and the US, but had not recevied a "single apology".

He said it was heartbreaking that his family had been wiped out after surviving years of the Saddam Hussein regime unscathed.

"I want to bury my family and then I will come back and take this matter further," he said.




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