America’s bombing of the Amiriya shelter still raw for Iraqis, 26 years on

Published February 13th, 2017 - 02:37 GMT
US air force planes (Wikimedia Commons, for illustrative purposes only)
US air force planes (Wikimedia Commons, for illustrative purposes only)

Iraqis have today been commemorating 26 years since the United States bombed an air raid shelter in the Baghdad suburb of Amiriya, killing 408 civilians.

Many of the victims were women and children. A BBC journalist reported from the scene that “we saw the charred and mutilated remains. … They were piled onto the back of a truck; many were barely recognizable as human.” 

Unrepentant, the American military claimed at the time that the shelter was a control and command center for the Iraqi military. They suggested that military vehicles and limousines carrying senior politicians had been seen moving to and from the complex.

These claims have been repeatedly refuted by members of Iraq’s armed forces and neutral onlookers, who have indicated that the site was purely or principally a civilian shelter.

Iraqis have suffered a great deal in a series of bloody conflicts across the past decades. However, the memories of this particular attack remain raw for many:

On this day, at dawn on February 13 1991, US aircraft targeted Amiriya shelter, which led to the death of more than 408 martyrs, mostly women and children.

On this day we remember the martyrs, and their cries as they melted in the midst of the fire.

We will not forget our martyrs, and we will not forget the ugliest crime committed against innocents. Every year we return to remembering it in our hearts full of sorrow. 26 years ago at this exact time, around dawn, the Amiriya shelter in Baghdad was bombed, causing the deaths of hundreds of martyrs, civilians who were hiding and among them women and children. They were targeted by one of the rockets which [they claim are part of a] call for freedom and human rights!

#America's crime in #Amiriya_shelter will remain a wail in the conscience of history. When smart missiles pierced the walls of the shelter to burn [to death] more than 400 humans.

On this day, February 13 1991, American forces burned to death 408 Iraqis inside #Amiriya_Shelter, including 261 women and 52 children.

Eight of those children were brothers and sisters, the children of Umm Greyda, who later moved into the ruins of the shelter to turn it into a memorial to them.

Some on social media today drew parallels with the Amiriya bombing and last summer’s explosions in the Karrada district of Baghdad, in which over 300 died in a massive blaze. Daesh claimed responsibility for that attack.

Today is the anniversary of the Amiriya shelter [bombings] and between the Amiriya shelter and Karrada we can see a parallel between yesterday and today.

The attack took place during the Gulf War in which a US-led coalition of 35 nations launched an assault against Iraq in retaliation for its 1990 annexation of neighboring Kuwait.


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