Iraq's Children of the Bomblet

A year later, remembering the deadliest weapon

Abu Ra'ed said he spoke with U.S. soldiers in early May, after he had collected the bombs, and asked the soldiers to remove them. But in the weeks after the war, the ordnance disposal teams—well-meaning, hard-working kids—were overstretched. The rest of the military, of course, was busy managing Baghdad's chaos.

On another visit to Abu Ra'ed a few weeks later, some of the larger shells had been removed. He said a few soldiers took them across the highway overpass and detonated them, leaving a 40-foot wide crater in the sand. Strangely, though, the soldiers left the cluster bomblets in the basket. Sure enough, Abu Ra'ed said, a few days earlier another child had wandered toward the sandlot and was carried out, badly injured, with a body full of shrapnel.

Nihad Jewad, killed by a cluster bomb
photo: Johan Spanner
Nihad Jewad, killed by a cluster bomb

Additional reporting by Johan Spanner

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