allied bombers strike iraqi 'torture center'

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    Apr. 1, 2003
    Allied bombers strike Iraqi 'torture center'
    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
    AS SAYLIYAH, Qatar


    Allied aircraft bombed a complex that serves as the office of the Iraqi National Olympic Committee and, according to Iraqi dissidents, a torture center run by Saddam Hussein's eldest son, Odai, the US military said Tuesday.

    "Coalition aircraft used precision-guided munitions to target a regime office complex in eastern Baghdad," a US Central Command statement said.

    The attack on the office of the Olympic Committee, which Odai heads, happened Monday night.

    "The strike was executed to erode the command and control capabilities of regime leaders," the statement said.

    Centcom said the complex also housed Iraq's Ministry of Youth.

    The lower four floors of the nine-story building on Baghdad's Palestine Street were severely damaged. Walls were knocked through, and mangled wire and steel protruded from the debris.

    Critics of the Saddam have campaigned to have Iraq thrown out of the International Olympic Movement because of widespread allegations that Odai Saddam Hussein had tortured his own country's athletes and used the Olympic center as a site for torturing both athletes and others.

    Iraq had repeatedly denied such allegations.
    In January, an official of the International Olympic Committee said it was investigating these allegations.

    Last year, the London-based human rights group Indict demanded that the IOC expel the Iraqi Olympic Committee from its ranks.

    Citing witness statements by exiled Iraqi athletes and United Nations reports, Indict claimed Odai, once made a group of track athletes crawl on newly poured asphalt while they were beaten, and ordered that some be thrown off a bridge.

    The group also alleged Odai ran a special prison for sportsmen who offended him.

 
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