- SARAJEVO (Reuters) -
bunkers built for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein can resist massive
and those hiding inside could survive for up to six months, a retired
army officer who helped build them said.
- "I believe that if Saddam does not leave, and I
think he has nowhere to go, they will find him in one of these facilities
-- if he does not find a way out by then," retired Lt. Col. Resad
Fazlic told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday. "These bunkers can
resist a direct hit of a 20 kiloton- strong bomb or atomic bomb impact
and keep those inside independent of the outside world for six
said Fazlic, who oversaw the building of the bunkers in the late
- U.S.-led forces started their six-day-old air and land
assault aimed at ousting the Iraqi leader by hitting his compound in
- It was not clear if the compound that was hit was one
of the two in the Iraqi capital that, Fazlic said, were built for the Iraqi
- "I did not take part in the building of this bunker,
code-named "2000," but I know it is larger than others, about
the size of a soccer pitch, and has everything he might need for a longer
stay inside," Fazlic said, referring to one of the Iraqi leader's
- Fazlic said underground concrete fortresses were built
by the former Yugoslav military in the cities of Baghdad, Mosul, Kirkuk,
Basra and Nassiriya after Iraqi officials toured similar facilities in
- "We also built the so-called "zero,"
and "C" types of bunkers which were smaller and meant for the
military, communications centers and so on but can also resist heavy
and longer isolation," he said.
- Fazlic said he took part in the building of more than
a dozen underground bunkers in former Yugoslavia which was then led by
late President Josip Broz Tito, who had warm relations with Saddam
- "We built all of these facilities in Iraq because
they liked what they saw here," Fazlic said, citing a large bunker
dug into a mountain near the southern Bosnian town of Konjic that was meant
for the former Yugoslav government in case of war.
- DIFFICULT TERRAIN
- "It was a little bit more difficult in Iraq because
of the flat terrain. But you would use a valley, dig at the bottom of a
hill, build a bunker and than cover it so it can't be spotted from
- "The most important thing was to design the main
bunker and all those layers above it which were the main protection. Even
if you only had to penetrate the main bunker with a missile it would have
to impact it at the angle of 90 degrees, otherwise it would ricochet off
its rounded surface," he said.
- "But before that, it would have to go through
layers ... and to calculate all the right angles for impact and fire
successful hits in line is almost impossible," he added.
- The bunkers also had their own air filtration systems
and alternative exits in case the main entrance was blocked. They could
only be opened from inside, Fazlic said.