Video: Violence on a Baghdad street

By Correspondent
NBC News
updated 9/18/2006 7:53:05 PM ET 2006-09-18T23:53:05

Another 40 bodies were found dumped on the streets of Baghdad Monday — more than 200 in the last five days. All tortured. All executed.

The struggle for power between Shiites and Sunnis seems to have touched everyone here, as we found when we picked one block at random on Karrada Street. Everyone knew someone who had been killed or attacked.

Each morning, high school student Achmed Hammed reads the newspaper obituaries looking for friends who have died.

"A few days ago an IED blew up in a shop and my dear friend fell dead immediately," Hammed says.

"My brother was kidnapped," Kanan Aziz Abid, who is out shopping with his son, says. "They came and shot him with four bullets."

We found housekeeper Um Mohammed shoe shopping with her daughter.

"My cousin was killed 40 days ago, and my cousin’s husband was killed too," she says.

Even the Baghdad morgue is not safe. On Monday morning, an Iraqi NBC producer, his face hidden for his protection, and his camera crew were caught in crossfire at the morgue. On one side, Shiites from the Ministry of Health, on the other, Sunnis from the Ministry of Electricity. Our tape was confiscated.

"You can imagine the militias here carrying out assassinations in the dark of night, but I never imagined that inside the government institution itself there's a kind of sectarian strife," the producer says.

Only one business benefits from this strife — the coffin maker, Suhail Gergis. He's been making coffins since 1983, and for the first time he cannot keep up with demand.

"We turn on the generator and keep working until late at night," he says.

They are building a coffin for a small child. In Iraq, in this chaos, this business has the biggest increase in manufacturing here.

The United Nations estimates that 100 Iraqi civilians die violently each day.

The coffin makers will have to work harder.

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