Thousands of people left yesterday. Despite now being in allied territory no one showed any relief or was prepared to say anything about politics. “You wouldn’t expect me to answer that, would you,” said one man with a smile when I asked if he was pleased that Basra’s Ba’athists were on the way out. [Daily Telegraph, 3/28/03]

What’s Al-Jazeera going to say about this?

Iraqi paramilitary forces in Basra fired mortars and machine guns Friday on about 1,000 Iraqi civilians [!!!] trying to leave the besieged city, forcing them to retreat, British military officials and witnesses said.Britain’s 7th Armored Brigade apparently tried to fire back, but stopped out of fear that civilians would be wounded, said Lt. Cmdr. Emma Thomas….British pool reports described Iraqi forces with mortars mounted in pickup trucks firing on the fleeing civilians, sending some running back into Basra. Panicked women and children scattered on a bridge over a canal and down its embankments to avoid machine-gun fire, the reports said. One Iraqi woman badly wounded by shrapnel was carried into a British vehicle that whisked her off for treatment. [Associated Press, 3/28/03]

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