NEW YORK (
) -- Baghdad is demanding that the United States pay $1 billion and apologize for damage done to the city during the nearly eight-year long war invasion that brought down Saddam Hussein, the city's government said in a statement.
|Municipality workers remove concrete blast walls in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday.
"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 government said in an official statement on its Web site.
Now city officials are insisting that the U.S. issue an official apology and pay $1 billion for the damages.
"Due to the huge damage, leading to a loss the Baghdad municipality cannot afford ... we demand the American side apologize to Baghdad's people and pay back these expenses," the statement said.
Miles of concrete blast walls that were initially "put up at the pretext of security," now cause major traffic jams and hurt businesses by sealing off sections of the city. The heavy walls have also damaged the sewer and water systems throughout the city, as well as sidewalks, roads and parks, city spokesman Hakeem Abdul Zahra said.
U.S. Humvee military vehicles also caused major damage, as they were driven on street medians and through gardens, Abdul Zahra said.
"The city of Baghdad feels these violations, which have taken place for years, have caused economic and moral damage," he said.
U.S. troops pulled out of Iraq's cities in June 2009 and ended combat operations last August.
In February, 2009, President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. combat mission in Iraq would be completed by the end of August 2010. Up to 50,000 troops remain in Iraq to provide general support in the aftermath of the war, but they are expected to withdraw by the end of 2011.
--Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.
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