U.S. Investigating Reports That Red Cross Facilities in Afghanistan Hit By Bombs

Tuesday, October 16th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ U.S. military officials are looking into reports that Red Cross warehouses in Afghanistan were hit during U.S.-led bombing raids, the White House said Tuesday.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the Defense Department was trying to confirm the incident and determine whose weapons were involved. He raised the possibility that anti-aircraft fire from the ground could be responsible.

``In a case like this, ... it's hard to say whether something was a result of anti-aircraft weaponry that was shot from the ground, or other weapons that were shot from the ground and came back down, or whether or not it was coalition efforts,'' Fleischer said.

A bomb crashed into a Red Cross compound at Khair Khana near Kabul, injuring a guard and setting afire two warehouses containing wheat, medicine and other supplies. Officials in Pakistan said the roofs of the warehouses were marked with Red Cross insignia.

The incident happened as President Bush prepared to visit Red Cross headquarters in Washington to encourage Americans to take part in community service efforts during the military strikes. Fleischer said 18,000 letters had been received at the White House so far in response to Bush's call last week for American children to contribute to a fund for Afghan children.

``The president is very pleased to note that,'' Fleischer said.