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 Tuesday, April 01, 2003



Civilian Casualty Update

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LATEST An extraordinary communication from the United States to UN representatives around the world has been leaked to Greenpeace. In it, the United States warns that the simple act of support for a General Assembly meeting to discuss the war will be considered "unhelpful and directed against the United States." They further threaten that invoking the Uniting for Peace resolution will be "harmful to the UN." Greenpeace has been actively lobbying at the United Nations against the war, and many delegates have expressed both publicly and privately their distaste for what they see as US attempts to "strongarm" the world community to do as it is told. One delegate was so incensed with the memo circulated by the US that he leaked the full document. (READ THE FULL TEXT OF THE LEAKED DOCUMENT)

A disagreement has broken out at a senior level within the Bush administration over a new government that the US is secretly planning in Kuwait to rule Iraq in the immediate aftermath of the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Under the plan, the government will consist of 23 ministries, each headed by an American. Every ministry will also have four Iraqi advisers appointed by the Americans, the Guardian has learned.The government will take over Iraq city by city. Areas declared "liberated" by General Tommy Franks will be transferred to the temporary government under the overall control of Jay Garner, the former US general appointed to head a military occupation of Iraq.In anticipation of the Baghdad regime's fall, members of this interim government have begun arriving in Kuwait.Decisions on the government's composition appear to be entirely in US hands, particularly those of Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defence. This has annoyed Gen Garner, who is officially in charge but who, according to sources close to the planning of the government has had to accept a number of controversial Iraqis in advisory roles.

Casualties: Among U.S. troops, 46 dead, seven captured, 16 missing, according to the Pentagon Among British troops, 26 dead, none are missing or captured. Deployed: A little more than 300,000 troops are in the region, with about 250,000 from the United States and the rest being from other coalition countries. Iraqi troops estimate: 350,000. Iraqi deaths: No estimate of military casualties. Iraq says at least 425 civilians have been killed since the war began.

Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel said in a newspaper interview published in Brussels, the real reason for the war was the United States' need to reassert its power after the attacks of September 11, 2001.Michel also denounced the widely different explanations given by the United States for invading Iraq on March 20, in an onslaught that failed to win the backing of the United Nations " First it was disarmament. Then it was liberating the Iraqis. Along the way, there was an attempt to show that the whole thing would solve the Middle East problem," he said. "It's incredible to throw so much power into a war while hinting that the whole thing had been worked out in advance, when in fact it appears that things aren't so clear," Michel told the French-language newspaper La Libre Belgique.

Forty-eight more civilians, including women and children, have been killed and 310 wounded in US-British bombings around this town south of Baghdad in the last 24 hours, a hospital director revealed. The deaths brought to 73 the number of Iraqi civilians who have died under allied bombings since Monday.Thirty-three civilians, including women and children, were killed and 310 wounded in a coalition bombing on the southern province of Babylon on Tuesday morning, a hospital director said.Murtada Abbas said the bombing targeted the Nader residential area at the southern outskirts of the farming town of Hilla, 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of the capital.

US Marines have pushed north toward Baghdad, with dozens of civilians reported dead from air strikes on their line of advance, as Iraq beefed up its crack troops guarding the capital against an expected US thrust. An AFP correspondent traveling with the Marines said they were backed by artillery and two B-52 heavy bombers in their drive to take a key canal near the farming town of Hilla, 80 kilometres south of Baghdad.

Egypt’s president, Hosni Mubarak, a key moderate Arab leader and long-time ally of the West, warned of the "horrible consequences" of a drawn-out war and said it could create "100 new bin Ladens".

U.S. military officials also confirmed that the four bodies discovered a few days ago in shallow graves are of American troops, but have still not determined the branch of the military in which the troops served, much less their names

Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Said al-Sahhaf said in Baghdad that several people were wounded when a US warplane attacked two Iraqi buses carrying international volunteers, some of them American, who had been operating as human shields.He said the attack took place Monday in the western town of Rutba between Baghdad and neighbouring Jordan.A senior US commander in the war on Iraq said here Tuesday he was unable to confirm reports that a US warplane attacked a bus in weswtern Iraq carrying international volunteers acting as human shields

Janabiyah, Iraq - Bloodied school books and children's shoes lie amidst animal carcasses on the road leading to the Ismails' farm in this village on the south eastern edge of Baghdad. The main building of this hamlet, accessible via a checkpoint manned by militiamen, has been levelled, the second burned out and the third partially destroyed. A neighbour told an AFP journalist that two missiles fired by coalition warplanes on Saturday night caught five sleeping families living on the farm. The raid left 20 people dead - eleven of them children, seven women and two men. Ten others injured in the attack were taken to hospital


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LATEST Japan's defence agency has retracted an announcement by its navy chief that it has confirmed North Korea has test fired a missile into the Yellow Sea, saying it is still checking if there was a missile launch.Maritime Self Defence Force chief of staff Koichi Furusho said earlier in the day that Japan had confirmed that a missile was test fired by North Korea

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