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April 13, 2003
 
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(AP Photo)
Hints of Normal Life Return to Baghdad
Hints of Normal Life Return to Baghdad As Looting Fades, but Signs of Bitterness Remain

The Associated Press


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BAGHDAD, Iraq April 13

Looting eased in Baghdad on Sunday, and signs the capital's convulsions may be dying out could be seen in a return of the little headaches of everyday life traffic jams and domestic spats.

People felt secure enough to come out of their homes and drive around, causing the late morning traffic jams so common to Baghdad life. Buses started running in the center of town.

On one Baghdad street, a man and a woman engaged in a shouting match. "I will burn your father," the man yelled a common threat in marital disputes.

But anger still simmered at U.S. troops for allowing four straight days of pillaging.

A new graffiti, scrawled in English, appeared on a Baghdad wall: "Bush supports looters."

Baghdad has been engulfed in a frenzy of looting ever since U.S. troops took control of the city on Wednesday. Presidential palaces, government ministries and the Iraq National Museum the repository of the nation's cultural heritage have been stripped bare.

American forces spread out over a city of 4.8 million have largely stood by and allowed the thievery, causing resentment among a populace increasingly inclined to see the invading army as an oppressor, not a liberator.

Looting flared Sunday on the western outskirts of the capital, and a plume of black smoke streaked up into the sky. Whole families, including women and children, used donkey carts to haul off toilets, sinks and bathtubs from a warehouse in the Abu Ghreib district.

The looters swarmed army barracks and military warehouses that stretch for miles along a road strewn with dozens of burned-out tanks and armored personnel carriers.

The Agriculture Ministry and other government installations were also ransacked.

Black smoke billowed over the western edge of the city Sunday. In Baghdad proper, an institute of military studies on the city's main street, Palestine Street, was pillaged and gutted by fire, possible an arson attack.

Although public transport resumed, some double-decker buses were taken over by looters for ferrying their booty back home.

U.S. troops set up barricades to search vehicles and passengers coming in and out of the western part of the city. They conducted body searches and inspected vehicles, aggravating the traffic congestion.

Tayseer Allouni, a correspondent for the al-Jazeera television network, said looting continued at a presidential palace close to Baghdad's Gumhuriya bridge.


photo credit and caption:
Iraqi civilians stand in their driveway as United States Marines of Kilo Company, 3rd Batallion, 7th Marines patrol a neighborhood in Baghdad on Saturday, April 12, 2003. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
 
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