Twenty years ago, as Americans were celebrating Valentine’s Day, Iraqi husbands and fathers in the Amiriyah section of Baghdad were peeling the remains of their wives and children off the walls and floor of a large neighborhood bomb shelter.
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All of the more than 400 women and children were incinerated or boiled to death at 4:30 a.m. on Feb. 13, 1991, when two F-117 stealth fighter-bombers each dropped a 2,000-pound laser-guided “smart bomb” on the civilian shelter at Amiriyah.
It was one of those highly accurate “surgical strikes.” The first bomb sliced through 10 feet of reinforced concrete before a time-delayed fuse exploded, destroying propane and water tanks for heating water and food.
Minutes later the second bomb flew precisely through the opening that had been cut by the first and exploded deeper in the shelter creating an inferno.
Fire rose from the lower level to the area where the women and children were seeking shelter – and so did the boiling water. Those who did not burn to death immediately or die from the bombs’ impact were boiled or steamed to death in the intense heat.