One eye-witness recalled how he saw with his own eyes "women, children, and the elderly burnt like black coal, families wiped out, screams echoing around what remained of the shelter's walls". Iraq's health minister at the time, Abdel Salam Mohamed Saeed, described the precision bombing was a well-planned and intended crime.
Today, as the world celebrates a day of love and adoration, the thick of the pain borne out from this massacre continues to loom large. The incident was no friendly fire accident, but rather a premeditated massacre for which Iraqis paid the heaviest price.
America, then, was quick to counter allegations against it, at the time claiming, contrary to the reality, that it believed the site was not a bomb shelter but a military command center. However, the facts run counter to America defenses, since no prior warning was given to those seeking refuge at the bomb shelter. US military forces first struck with missiles, and later intensified attacks with use of laser-guided smart bombs.
Sana, an engineer by trade, who loved life was killed cradling her young daughter tightly in her arms. Her sister, a pharmacist, and a then newly wedded Bride, and another sister who was happily engaged, also met a similar fate. The gold Sana wore was the only thing from which her charred body could be identified. Another individual whose entire family was wiped out, also suffered severe psychological trauma.
Al-Amiriyya refuge site has became a symbol of death and treachery for Iraqi society at large, as an event that ruptured the cultural and spiritual fabric of life. The shelter was transformed and remains to be a memorial in commemoration of every single life lost in this dark chapter of Iraqi history. The faces of those killed adorn the walls of the shelter where civilians fled in hope of surviving America shelling spree.
Today's holiday of love will forever remain another person's day of betrayal, sorrow, and sadness in memory of this ugly crime.