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US bombs its own forces and brother of Kurdish leader

Iraq - April 07, 2003


MOMENTS after the attack, John Simpson broadcast live by satellite telephone on the BBC news channel, News 24.

John Simpson: "Well it's a bit of a disaster . . . I was in a convoy of eight or ten cars in northern Iraq coming up to a place that has just recently been captured. American Special Forces in a truck - two trucks I think - beside them, plus a very senior figure . . ."

Simpson to US soldier: "Shut up. I'm broadcasting! Oh yes, I'm fine - am I bleeding?"

US soldier: "Yes, you've got a cut."

Simpson: "I thought you were going to stop me. I think I've just got a bit of shrapnel in the leg, that's all. OK, I will - thanks a lot.

"That was one of the American Special Forces medics - I thought he was going to try to stop me reporting.

"I've counted ten or 12 bodies around us. So there are Americans dead. It was an American plane that dropped the bomb right beside us - I saw it land about 10ft, 12ft away, I think. We were so close to the damage and - it didn't damage us badly at any rate.

"This is just a scene from hell here. All the vehicles on fire. There are bodies burning around me, there are bodies lying around, there are bits of bodies on the ground. This is a really bad own goal by the Americans. We don't really know how many Americans are dead. There is ammunition exploding in fact from some of these cars. A very senior member of the Kurdish Republic's government who also may have been injured."

Maxine Mawhinney, televison presenter: "John, just to recap for the viewers, an American plane dropped a bomb on your convoy of American Special Forces - many dead, many injured?"

Simpson: "I am sorry to be so excitable. I am bleeding through the ear and everything, but that is absolutely the case. I saw this American convoy, and they bombed it. They hit their own people - they may have hit this Kurdish figure - very senior, and they've killed a lot of ordinary characters, and I am just looking at the bodies now and it is not a very pretty sight."

Excerpted from Times On Line, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,5944-636943,00.html

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