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He called them the bombs with ``quiet voices.'' When they dropped, there was no loud blast, shrapnel, or flame.

Only ``a yellow cloud.... The air be like this cloud. We smelled a beautiful, nice smell.''

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That's when the villagers knew to run for their lives.

Bahagat Nife, a Kurd from Iraq, is describing the morning of Aug. 25, 1988.

``When we saw this cloud, we were near the Habun River. So most of the people went down to be in the river. There was safety there.''

``Those who had no time to be in the river, all of them die.''

``And some of the people of our village were sleeping at that time. And these people - they didn't get up.''

The bombs with ``quiet voices,'' spreading an aromatic yellow plume, were chemical weapons, dropped by Iraqi Air Force bombers against the country's rebellious Kurdish minority. United States intelligence officials say they've confirmed the attacks.

According to Kurdish sources, the bombs brought an agonizing, choking death to some 5,000 people - punishment for having sided with Iran during the long and bitter Gulf war.

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