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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 26, 2003
9:38 AM
CONTACT: Iraq Peace Team
Steven Shults: 206.568.0304
Email: steven@inlet.org

Peace Delegates Visit Wounded Civilians in Baghdad Hospital
 
SEATTLE, WA. - March 26 - Wade Hudson, co-coordinator of the war crimes monitoring aspect of the Iraq Peace Team, sent a report via email from Baghdad earlier today describing some of what he and his fellow delegates witnessed while visiting wounded civilians at the Alyarmouk hospital in Baghdad on March 23rd.

The Alyarmouk hospital is a university teaching hospital and one of the largest and most modern hospitals in Iraq. It is one of three medical centers prepared by the authorities to receive victims of the attack by the US. Many foreign doctors and surgeons, Americans included, are in Baghdad to offer their services to these hospitals during the war.

One of the patients the Peace Team delegates met with was Rahab Wedad Mohammad, age 25, who had just come out of surgery under general anesthesia. She was the moved to the women's section of the hospital where some of the Iraq Peace Team delegates were able to visit with her.

Her right cheek was swollen and her right forearm was heavily bandaged. According to a female doctor on staff, Mohammad's tendons had been severed by shrapnel. Surgeons had sewn the tendons back together, along with nerves and blood vessels. In conversations with Mohammad, the delegates learned that she was in her home in the residential district of Hayy Jamiya on Saturday night (the 3rd straight night of US bombs raining down on her home city) when a bomb detonated nearby.

Zaha Seheil lay quietly on a bed opposite Mohammad's. Zaha is six years old. The doctor informed the Peace Team members that Zaha was wounded in her back, suffering a spinal injury which has made her paraplegic.

In the men's section of the hospital, Hudson and his team members visited with Rusul Salim Abbas. Abbas, 10 years old, was hit by shrapnel in the chest and on the right hand. He suffered his injuries on Friday night when the bombing was the heaviest, lasting for four continuous hours. "He was going to close the door when he was hit", says Salim Abbas, the boy's father, seated on the edge of his son's bed.

On a nearby bed lay Salah Mehdi, age 33. Mehdi was walking down the street Saturday night in the residential district of Amariya when a missile exploded nearby. "I just saw a huge fireball and I lost consciousness" he says with difficulty. Mehdi bore shrapnel wounds in the stomach, on his right hand and his right ear.

On the next bed Omar`Ali, 12 years old, was one of twelve members of his family injured Friday night in the residential district of Al Shorta when a bomb hit near their house. On nearby beds were also Majid Mahmoud, aged 57 and father of two, injured the very first night of bombing, and Hussein Jassim Fleh, aged 36 and father of a young daughter, injured Saturday night. Fleh was wounded in the back, as well as on both arms and legs.

Hudson asks in his online journal (available at http://inlet.org/wade) "Was the shrapnel from US missiles and bombs, or from falling Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery? Given the delicate hospital conditions in which these visits were made, and the lack of expert ballistics evidence, it is difficult to tell what actually caused these injuries and scores of others like them in hospitals across the country." Hudson quotes an Iraqi TV reporter who was also at the hospital to film the wounded: "Whatever the origin of the shrapnel, Bush must bear full responsibility because he chose to impose this war on Iraq."

Members of the delegation were able to take photos of some of the injuries which are available online at http://iraqpeaceteam.org The Iraq Peace Team is a project initiated by Voices in the Wilderness, a joint US/UK campaign working to end the economic sanctions against the people of Iraq since March of 1996. The delegates of the Iraq Peace Team do not consider themselves to be 'human shields' nor are they affiliated with any 'human shield' projects

Wade Hudson is a resident of Boulder Creek, California. He is a writer, an anti-poverty worker, a former mental health counselor, and a lifelong community organizer. His daily Baghdad journal entries can be read at http://inlet.org/wade

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