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* Iraqis Mourn Dead From U.S. Attack (Associated Press) * What the Pentagon said (from BBC and AP) * Russia condemns attacks (Reuters) * Arab ministerial committee seek to lift sanctions imposed on Iraq (Arabic News) ********** Iraqis Mourn Dead From U.S. Attack By Vijay Joshi, Associated Press Writer, Tuesday, January 26, 1999; 6:07 a.m. EST ABU FALOUS, Iraq (AP) -- The sounds of Islamic prayer coming from a mosque filled the morning air today as Iraqi women gathered in a house to beat their chests and wail in traditional mourning for those who died in a U.S. missile strike. Iraqi officials say six people were killed in the village of Abu Falous, 24 miles south of Basra, and five others died in that city's al-Jumhuriya neighborhood when missiles struck Monday morning. U.S. officials said Air Force and Navy jets fired at air defense posts in response to threats from anti-aircraft fire and Iraqi warplanes violating the no-flight zone in southern Iraq. They said at least one misfired high-explosive missile may have killed civilians. Other reports suggested more missiles may have gone off course. Ahmed Ibrahim Hamash, the governor of Basra, said two aircraft fired five missiles, three of which hit civilian areas and two others which struck near Basra airport and in an oilfield. Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency reported today that a missile landed outside the Iranian city of Abadan, 30 miles east of Basra. It apparently caused no damage. Prakash Shah, a U.N. envoy to Iraq, said Monday that another missile struck in the demilitarized zone between Iraq and Kuwait. Shah later toured damaged areas in Basra, 350 miles south of the capital, Baghdad. ``It was very sad,'' he said. In Abu Falous, a village with an anti-aircraft battery on its outskirts, government worker Taha Yassin, 50, said he was sitting in his house when he heard the blast of a missile Monday morning. ``It shook the ground like it was an earthquake,'' he said, describing how he and others ran toward the sound and came upon the demolished houses. ``There was blood all over, and the street was covered in smoke,'' he said. ``You couldn't even carry the wounded children because you were afraid you might injure them more.'' A gray-green rocket with its nose and tail missing lay in a street. It was about 6 feet long and had written on its side in English, ``warranted item.'' Iraqi officials say the 11 killed Monday were all women, children and the elderly because most men were at work when the missiles hit residential areas. They said 59 others were wounded, including 17 in Abu Falous. U.S. aircraft have been firing almost daily at Iraqi air defenses in the southern and northern no-fly zones in Iraq since the American and British airstrikes in mid-December. On Monday, the senior U.S. commander in the Persian Gulf, Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, said that ``we deeply regret any loss of civilian lives or civilian casualties or injuries'' that may have been caused by the latest missile firing. But Zinni said officials had not confirmed that any missile struck civilians. He also said Saddam was ultimately to blame because of his ``attacks against us and his history of disregard for the welfare of his own people.'' ********** What the Pemtagon said From: Robert Burns, Associated Press Writer, Wednesday, January 27, 1999; 2:44 a.m. EST BBC Online, Tuesday January 26, 1999 Published at 23:41 GMT The US has confirmed that one its missiles hit a residential area in the southern city of Basra on Monday. Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon said an AGM-130 missile had missed its target, and exploded in a residential area several kilometres away. "It created some damage. We realise that and we regret any civilian casualties, but this was done in response to a provocative attack against our planes by Saddam Hussein, and I think that should be clear," he said. Bacon said he could not confirm the missile killed civilians. "I don't think I have any independent confirmation whether it did or it didn't,'' he said. Bacon said only one U.S. missile went astray. Iraq reported an unspecified number of casualties [at al-Jumhuriya, Basra]; it said a total of three American missiles killed 11 civilians in a series of attacks. "We don't have any independent estimate of casualties or fatalities that can back up what the Iraqis have said about this,'' Bacon said. Meanwhile, the Air Force will continue using the AGM-130 in "no-fly'' zone enforcement missions in Iraq, Bacon said. He described the weapon as "generally very accurate'' but said there are many reasons it might miss a target. He would not offer any examples. "I think that we are having a grave impact on the Iraqi air defense system, and a grave impact on the number of weapons they have to bring to bear against our planes, and we will continue to do that until the threat goes away,'' Bacon said. "We're acting here in self-defense and in response to concerted attacks by Saddam Hussein,'' Sandy Berger, the president's national security adviser, said in an interview with defense reporters. ********** Russia condemns attacks MOSCOW, Jan 26 (Reuters) Russia issued a strong official condemnation on Tuesday of the deaths of civilians in what Iraq said was a U.S. missile attack on the city of Basra on Monday. "Nothing can justify new deaths among the civilian population of Iraq, which has already been bled dry by the hardships of many years of blockade,'' the Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued as U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright held talks with Russian officials in Moscow. ********** Arab ministerial committee to lift sanctions imposed on Iraq meets shortly in Damascus Arabic News, Regional, Politics, 1/26/99 Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa arrived on Monday in Damascus after he presided over the meeting of the Arab foreign ministers on Sunday in Cairo. A final statement was issued in which the ministers reiterated their demand that military options against Iraq should not be resorted to, asserting that a diplomatic solution should be embarked upon in implementing UN Security Council resolutions. The Arab ministers also demanded the lifting of the sanctions imposed on Iraq, Libya and Sudan. They stressed the unity and sovereignty of the Iraqi territories and non-intervention in the internal affairs of Iraq. The ministers also agreed to form a committee comprising of the Syrian foreign minister and several Arab countries with the basic task of lifting the economic sanctions with members of the UN Security Council. In this respect Arab League Secretary General Esmat Abdul Meguid announced on Monday that the ministerial committee formed by the Arab foreign ministers in their consultation meeting will be held shortly in Damascus at the invitation of Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa in his capacity as the current chairman of the Arab League council. In a press conference he held on Sunday the Arab League chief said that the "committee will discuss the future plan with the UN Security Council in coordination with the Iraqi government in order to lift the siege imposed on Iraq." Abdul Meguid said the committee includes the foreign ministers of Syria, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria and Bahrain -- the Arab member of the UN Security Council and the AL chief. He stated that he does not think that Iraq will oppose the committee which seeks to lift the embargo imposed on Iraq, despite the withdrawal of the Iraqi delegation and its refusal of the statement. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html