BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's capital wants the United States to apologize and pay $1 billion for the damage done to the city not by bombs but by blast walls and Humvees since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.
"The U.S. forces changed this beautiful city to a camp in an ugly and destructive way, which reflected deliberate ignorance and carelessness about the simplest forms of public taste," the statement said.
The statement made no mention of damage caused by bombing.
Baghdad's neighborhoods have been sealed off by miles of concrete blast walls, transforming the city into a tangled maze that contributes to massive traffic jams. Despite a sharp reduction in overall violence in recent years only 5 percent of the walls have been removed, officials said.
U.S. military Humvees, driven on street medians and through gardens, have also caused major damage, he said.
"The city of Baghdad feels these violations, which have taken place for years, have caused economic and moral damage," he said.
Baghdad is badly in need of a facelift. Electricity and trash collection are sporadic, streets are potholed and sewage treatment plants and pipes have not been renovated for years.
Zahra said the city's statement issued on Wednesday would be the start of its measures to get the United States to pay for damages but he did not say what other steps might be taken.
(Reporting and writing by Aseel Kami; Editing by Jim Loney)
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