Basra, multiple countries
BASRA RESIDENTS FLEE SITE OF SHELLING NEAR BRITISH POSITIONS IN SOUTHERN IRAQ.
A family flees past a destroyed Iraqi T-55 tank after a mortar attack on British Army positions in the southern city of Basra March 28, 2003. Iraqi forces fired on about 2,000 civilians trying to flee fighting and a humanitarian crisis in the beseiged southern city of Basra, forcing some to turn back, British military officials said on Friday. REUTERS/Chris Helgren
“A few days after crossing the Iraqi frontier from Kuwait, where we’d watched the night time assault from atop a water tower, British Army lines were edging closer and closer to the major southern city of Basra. Roads were jammed with local people heading towards us, but curiously enough a large number were also returning back home with supplies. This porous front line was rather curious, and our Reuters multi-media crew, riding in an armored Land Rover nicknamed “Brenda the Defender”, continually tried to keep an eye on what was going on. Finally, on May 28 cameraman Fedja Grulovic and I were able to make it across the Zubair bridge spanning the Shatt al-Basrah waterway and into Basra’s city limits. We were the first Western journalists to do so. The British Army were prodding the lines on the edge of the city up ahead, sending Warrior fighting vehicles up and down a road flanking the city’s technical institute. When the British got close, a barrage of mortars was unleashed by the Iraqi forces, prompting the withdrawal of the Warriors. Unfortunately, we and a number of civilians were also on the road. I saw a group of them running towards me and shot a few frames of this family passing a destroyed tank. Within seconds Fedja and I had to dive under the same tank, making room for an Iraqi cyclist too, as mortar shells exploded around us.
Luckily nobody was injured, but British propaganda officers soon appeared to announce that the Iraqis were shelling their own people, neglecting to mention that the barrage was prompted by the presence of British Army reconnaissance vehicles.”