Description of Damage Done in Iraq
By The Associated Press
Americans and British
Sunday, December 20, 1998; 2:33 p.m. EST
Given Iraq's secrecy and the limits of assessing the effect of airstrikes from afar, the full damage to Iraq in the four-day U.S-British military campaign probably will never be known. Here is a description of it from the attackers, reporters and witnesses and the Iraqi government:
The Pentagon says the 70-hour offensive hit nearly 100 targets and involved 650 aircraft missions; 425 cruise missiles, each costing $750,000, were fired from U.S. ships in the Gulf or B-52 bombers.
President Clinton said the attacks inflicted ``significant damage'' on Iraqi weapons programs, command structures and military and security infrastructure.
Among targets U.S. officials said were hit: 20 command and control facilities, 18 facilities providing security for weapons programs, seven or eight of President Saddam Hussein's palaces and posts of the elite Republican Guard.
The Pentagon showed videotapes of laser-guided missiles striking targets and aerial photos of bombed sites, one an Iraqi missile repair station that suffered moderate to heavy damage.
British videotape showed bomb hits on Republican Guard facilities in southern Iraq. Another British target was an oil refinery in the southern city of Basra, allegedly used to skirt the U.N. ban on oil exports.
Iraq controls access to damaged sites for reporters, photographers and TV crews, and that was limited.
After the first round of attacks, journalists were taken to a street in the upscale Baghdad neighborhood of Karada where a missile left a hole and broke a water main that flooded a street. No obvious military targets were nearby.
At Baghdad's Museum of Natural History, a missile put a two-foot hole in a wall and shattered glass display cases for stuffed lions and hyenas.
After the final attack Saturday, reporters were taken to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, where two missiles left a 40-foot hole and shattered windows. Reporters were blocked from seeing where a third missile landed nearby.
Journalists staying at the downtown Rashid hotel saw missiles hit in areas containing headquarters of the Special Security Services and the command center of the paramilitary Popular Army.
Iraqi witnesses described damage as heavy in some parts of Baghdad.
They said the headquarters of the Military Industrial Corporation, which runs Iraq's factories, was gutted. The area around Saddam's biggest palace was hit, but his whereabouts were not known at the time.
Other targets they listed included security offices, headquarters of the ruling Baath Party and al-Mustansiriya University in downtown Baghdad.
Iraqi officials concentrated on reporting damage to what they consider civilian facilities.
Among targets they listed as hit was a house belonging to Saddam's daughter Hala, which is in a Baghdad complex of homes for high-ranking officials and Saddam's family. Reports said the house was destroyed, but no one was home.
Officials said many facilities hit were being monitored by U.N. arms inspectors to prevent renewal of weapons production. One such target was the Nida heavy machinery factory south of Baghdad.
Also listed were headquarters of the security police and military intelligence, which officials said had been inspected by U.N. experts.
Officials said missiles caused collateral damage to hospitals near the Defense Ministry in Baghdad. Also described as damaged were a Trade Ministry warehouse and the building housing state-run radio and television.
Iraq's satellite station went off the air Thursday, and phone lines to the south were cut. Some electrical facilities were reported hit, and the official Iraqi News Agency said a missile damaged a historic palace, parts of which date to 1180.
(c) Copyright 1998 The Associated Press