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Sunday | April 06, 2003

US convoy hit by "friendly fire", BBC reporter hurt

US 'friendly fire' hits Kurdish convoy

Sunday April 6, 2003

An American warplane has bombed a Kurdish convoy travelling in northern Iraq with members of the US special forces.

Ten people are believed to have been killed when the plane mistakenly attacked the convoy in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq. The BBC world affairs editor, John Simpson, who was also with the convoy, said that he counted at least 10 bodies amid the burning vehicles.

"An American plane dropped the bomb right beside us. I saw it land about 10 feet away," Mr Simpson told BBC television in a satellite phone interview after the attack.

He said the convoy contained between eight and 10 cars, two of which carried US special forces troops. He added that a "very senior member of the Kurdish republic's government" was believed to be among the injured. It is understood he is the brother of Massoud Barzani, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

"This is just a scene from hell here," Mr Simpson said. "All the vehicles are on fire, there are bodies burning all around me, bits of bodies all around ... the Americans saw this convoy and they bombed it. They hit their own people."

Interrupted by an American soldier, he told him "shut up. I'm broadcasting ... Oh yes, I'm fine - am I bleeding?"

The soldier was heard to say: "Yes, you've got a cut."

"I thought you were going to stop me," Mr Simpson answered. "I think I've got a bit of shrapnel in the leg, that's all."

I guess being a reporter in this war is a dangerous bit of business.

I'm sure the always rational, never deal-breaking Barzani family will accept this with good grace. Or maybe it validates their less than energetic war so far.

Posted April 06, 2003 05:31 AM | Comments (9)


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