Villagers attacked with chemicals

Villagers attacked with chemicals

BAGHDAD-Government forces bombed northern Iraq with chemical weapons in 1988, causing people to flee in panic as clouds of deadly gas approached, a Kurdish witness told Saddam Hussein’s genocide trial yesterday.

“People in my village were screaming that they were infected by chemical weapons,” the witness, Abdullah Saeed, 79, testified. “We loaded children, women and other persons infected with chemical weapons onto three trucks and fled to another village,” Saaed said, recalling a day in April 1988 when he said Saddam’s forces bombed two other villages, causing clouds of smoke to drift toward his home.The farmer said that as they drove away, Saddam’s forces stopped the trucks, arrested the passengers and took them to a detention facility, where sanitary conditions were appalling.Saddam and six other co-defendants are facing charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for their roles in Operation Anfal, a military offensive against the Kurds in 1987-88.The prosecution says some 180 000 Kurds were killed and hundreds of villages destroyed.Saddam and one other defendant are also charged with genocide.The trial, in which the seven accused face death if convicted, is being closely watched by the US-backed Iraqi government, which is battling an insurgency in which Saddam’s supporters play a leading role.Nampa-AP”We loaded children, women and other persons infected with chemical weapons onto three trucks and fled to another village,” Saaed said, recalling a day in April 1988 when he said Saddam’s forces bombed two other villages, causing clouds of smoke to drift toward his home.The farmer said that as they drove away, Saddam’s forces stopped the trucks, arrested the passengers and took them to a detention facility, where sanitary conditions were appalling.Saddam and six other co-defendants are facing charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for their roles in Operation Anfal, a military offensive against the Kurds in 1987-88.The prosecution says some 180 000 Kurds were killed and hundreds of villages destroyed.Saddam and one other defendant are also charged with genocide.The trial, in which the seven accused face death if convicted, is being closely watched by the US-backed Iraqi government, which is battling an insurgency in which Saddam’s supporters play a leading role.Nampa-AP

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