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Rym Brahimi: Iraq says U.S. targets civilians

Rym Brahimi
Rym Brahimi

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AMMAN, Jordan (CNN) -- Iraqi officials have said American-led forces deliberately targeted a civilian marketplace in a missile attack. The Pentagon contends that an Iraqi missile hit the residential area killing more than a dozen people. Wednesday morning, CNN correspondent Rym Brahimi talked about the claims and counterclaims with CNN anchor Carol Costello.

COSTELLO: We want to ... check in with Rym Brahimi to talk more about this Baghdad marketplace that was apparently hit by someone, and we don't know who, right -- Rym?

BRAHIMI: Right, Carol. As far as the Iraqis are concerned, it was hit by a U.S. cruise missile and it caused, according to Iraq's Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, some 15 civilian deaths. Now some reporters that we know and some photographers were taken there by the Iraqi authorities. As you know, Carol, the Iraqi authorities have been extremely keen to take reporters to every single place that's been hit by the U.S.-led forces.

Now they took them to that place. It's in the northern outskirts of Baghdad. A very, very popular area. And, I might add, a very poor area. The photographers we spoke to said that they saw charred cars. They saw some undetermined number of bodies that appear to be civilian.

Now a short while ago, the minister of health of Iraq came out and accused the United States of deliberately targeting civilians. He said that in the past week or so since the conflict began, there have been 350 Iraqi civilian deaths, mostly women, children and the elderly. ...The minister also said that this was something the United States and Britain were doing deliberately.

The health minister also accused the United Nations of not respecting its engagements by having pulled out all its humanitarian staff before the war began. He said the United Nations is not doing its job, not doing its duty, not carrying out its responsibilities. He said the organization is stopping a lot of food and humanitarian aid from going through the Iraqi people.

Now I'd like to go back to those pictures of the marketplace. These pictures, as you know, have been broadcast on much of the Arab media -- Arab satellite media, mainly Al Jazeera, Abu Dhabi, Middle East Broadcast, and of course the new one, El Ala Via. They've been broadcasting these pictures a lot. Little commentary, however. Maybe a way of telling the people they don't really know exactly what happened there, but also maybe allowing their people to make their own judgment on that.

EDITOR'S NOTE: CNN's policy is to not report information that puts operational security at risk.

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