Iraq, US, trade war crimes allegations

27 March 2003
Iraqi Health Minister Umeed Midhat Mubarak told a news conference on 27 March that over 350 civilians had been killed in coalition bombings since war began and accused the allies of using cluster bombs and depleted uranium. 'Most of these martyrs and victims are children, women and elderly people who cannot afford to protect themselves -so you see that those aggressors, the Americans and the English and their allies, are targeting civilians in Iraq, regardless of their age,' he said, adding that 36 people had been killed in Baghdad in the last 24 hours alone. The US and Iraq continue to dispute blame for the bombing of a Baghdad market on 26 March, which killed 14 civilians. US military spokesmen insist that Saddam Hussein's forces deliberately place military equipment in civilian buildings. 'They do their best to terrorise our people by using a certain kind of bomb that causes panic among people,' Mubarak also alleged. 'The aggressors think that the people of Iraq will be easily frightened. They forget the Iraqi spirit.' A spokesman for the UK airforce, speaking to CNN, denied the charge. 'We have only used precision missiles,' he said.

On the same day from the US came accusations that Iraq had executed prisoners of war. On 23 March, 10 personnel were killed and five taken prisoner near Nasiriya: of those dead, some had bullet wounds to the head that suggested execution. Vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace told CNN that he believed that some American soldiers had suffered this fate.

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