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U.S. Gunship Kills Iraqi Civilians And Journalist

Witnesses: Apache fired on crowd

BBC Report 09/13/04

SOURCE FILE

Witnesses: Apache fired on crowd

09/12/04 -- Most of the young Iraqi men and boys mingling around the burning wreckage of a US armoured car in Baghdad were unfazed by the clattering of an American helicopter gunship overhead. Moments later they were under fire.

Some had pointed to the Apache helicopter. Others jogged slowly from the burning Bradley fighting vehicle, which the US military said had been set ablaze by a bomb. None expected it would shoot at them. 

Standing next to him, Fuad's colleague and friend Mazin Tumaizi, a producer for Dubai-based al-Arabiya, was killed as he prepared to give a stand-up piece to camera. 

"I looked at the sky and saw a helicopter at very low altitude", Fouad said. "Just moments later I saw a flash of light from the Apache. Then a strong explosion", he said. 

Unarmed civilans 

The first explosion sent Fuad crashing to the ground. 

"Mazen's blood was on my camera and face," Fuad said. Tumaizi screamed to Fuad for help: "Saif, Saif! I'm going to die. I'm going to die." 

A second blast hit some 15 seconds later, lodging shrapnel in Fuad's leg and waist as he was trying to pull Tumaizi from danger. Fouad's camera, its lens stained with blood, filmed the chaos. 

Iraqis had gathered around the wreckage of the US vehicle

The US military said the Bradley's crew of four were slightly wounded by the bomb and had been evacuated from the scene. 

"Air support destroyed the Bradley fighting vehicle to prevent looting and harm to the Iraqi people," the US military said in a statement. 

Reuters footage showed the crowd to be made up of unarmed boys and men, two of whom were standing on top of the Bradley.

Some had been celebrating the destruction of the armoured car.

Others were discussing what had happened and quietly watching the Bradley burn, sending thick black smoke into the sky. Then the attack began.

Reuters: http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/9BE69E7B-058D-404F-81CB-43816BA7A5F0.htm

Video Copyright: BBC

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