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[casi] FW: [IPT-reports] Bus Attack - April Hurley

Forwarded message from Iraq Peace Team

March 27, 2003

Hello to Everyone from Baghdad

160 K is a familiar rest stop on the road from Syria
to Baghdad.  Near an intersection there is a fueling
station and a small market for supplies and food.
According to 5 passengers, three busloads of civilians
were headed to Baghdad on 3/26 and approaching the
intersection at 5:30PM.  Passengers noticed an Apache
helicopter trailing them at a distance.  Possibly
intended to take out a bridge ahead, a missile
exploded directly in front of the first bus.  The bus
stopped immediately and passengers jumped out to
escape.  Those were the lucky ones.  The Bus was then
hit directly and 16-17 passengers were killed.  The
second bus was rearended by the third and impacted the
wreckage of the first bus.  The injured waited several
hours for buses called to transfer them to Baghdad.
As they were leaving the scene on the rescue buses,
passengers watched as more missiles demolished the
disabled buses left behind.

Five passengers were interviewed that evening at the
Al Kindi Hospital in Baghdad.  Their stories were
similar though several didn't see the helicopter and
thought that they were being bombed.  Mohammed Adnan
Al sa'di is a 28 year old Syrian, a barber, married
with two young children.  He was in the first bus and
suffered head trauma with loss of consciousness for
nearly an hour.  Above his torn right ear, he had a
gaping head wound with wide bruising.

Zaid Aga Al Kala' was also in the first bus where he
was observing the helicopter's proximity.  When the
third missile struck, he lost consciousness for 24
hours.  He has difficulty seeing with his left eye and
may have permanent impairment.  There was persisting
conjunctival hemorrhage and suspected mild glaucoma as
well.  He sustained  fractures and tendon lacerations
of his right hand, a large laceration to the right
side of his head.  Zaid, who is a 30 year old Syrian,
supplies construction sites in Demascus.  He asks,"Do
you think Jesus would agree with what Bush is doing?
Oil is not human; human is not oil!  Even animals are
more kind than people!"  He says that he "knows  the
American people are good  but the rulers are against
the good that the people stand for."
He estimates that 35 people, all civilians, were on
the struck bus.  He saw Muslims, Christians, and Red
Crescent workers around him.

Nor Adin Muhammed El-Mahbeubi, 34 years old, was in
the second bus when the missile hit the first bus and
he saw body parts thrown everywhere.  He suffered cuts
and bruises to his right lower leg only but he was
clearly emotionally shaken.  He asks,"American people
were responsible for defending democracy around the
world; what happened to change that?"

Abdul Malik Hassan Totanchy,  a 45 year old
government retiree from Halab, Syria with ten
children, sustained impact and dislocation of his left
shoulder and blunt trauma to the left side of his
chest when the missile hit his bus. Hussam Mohammed
Al-Nuhaby is a 24 year old dayworker from Demascus,
Syria who was thrown against the seat in front of his
in the second bus.  He injured his left shoulder and
chest as well.

These men were shooting questions at me about why
Americans are allowing this war, what is the reason so
much force is being used against an impoverished,
virtually defenseless population.  The Iraq people
have endured catastrophic sanctions and a devastated
economy for twelve years. Adult rates of cancer and
premature cancers in children have escalated along
with terrible birth defects from our radioactive
weapon waste from the last war.  These men support the
Iraq resistance to the invasion; they cannot
understand why the United Nations has deserted Iraq.

I appreciate their questions and ask the same and more
of you:  Why is a Coalition Apache helicopter trailing
and attacking civilians traveling on a  bus, clearly
identifiable as civilians when they left the bus.  Why
did the helicopter not stop and rescue the injured
after the assault, if it was a mistake?  Why were the
buses incinerated after the passengers were
transferred?  What has become of our fighting men and
women?  Do they not know that targeting civilians are
war crimes?  "Following orders" does not excuse war
What were their orders?  What do they know?

Today, we learned that an Australian fighter pilot
refused to bomb a civilian target in Iraq.  Are our
soldiers so informed and heroic?

Love and Peace under bombing in Baghdad,
April Hurley, MD
Doug Johnson, photographer
Iraq Peace Team

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