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Baghdad Archbishop says people didn't expect market bombing

The missiles that hit a Baghdad market earlier this week "caused widespread dismay among the population," according to local Latin-rite Archbishop Jean Benjamin Sleiman.

The archbishop told the MISNA missionary agency today that "until this moment the people believed that the United States had a practically perfect technique."

Archbishop Sleiman said he was not personally at the scene of the bombing, which reportedly left at least 14 people dead.

"However, everyone is talking about it," he said. "The people were caught off guard and now are frustrated and discouraged. It may have been a mistake, but in any case it caused a tragedy."

Archbishop Sleiman added: "Also today numerous explosions were heard, though less frequent than yesterday, and a new alert siren went off around a half-hour ago. In the meantime the terrible sandstorm afflicting the nation for days continues. There is so much sand in the air that even the blasts are somewhat muffled."


Archbishop Jean Benjamin Sleiman, O.C.D. (
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28 Mar 2003