BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraq will retaliate for the largest attack by U.S. and British warplanes in months, a state-run newspaper vowed Saturday, as Iraqis returning to classes, jobs and markets a day after the deadly bombing uniformly condemned the United States.
In a front-page editorial, al-Qadissiya daily also dismissed U.S. assertions that the strikes -- which killed two people -- were ordered to protect pilots patrolling Iraqi skies. Iraq, it said, merely defends its airspace.
"This crime will not go without strong punishment for the aggressive Americans, to teach the American-Zionist new and old administration new lessons," the paper said, without being specific.
Sirens started wailing Friday evening, followed by explosions from anti-aircraft weapons from the southern and western outskirts of the city of more than 5 million. About 50 minutes later, more sirens marked the end of the strikes.
The official Iraqi News Agency, citing health ministry officials, said two people died and 20 were injured. It identified the dead as a woman, Ghayda Atshaan Abdullah, and a man, Khalil Hameed Alwash.
"All were innocent children, women and men who do not mean anything to America," said Tamader Jassim, a 19-year-old college student heading to class Saturday. "They expect us to hate our leader by doing this. ... They are wrong, we started to hate everything American because of these strikes."
In hospitals, children with bandaged legs and feet held their hands out to worried parents. Concerned family members stood by anxiously, waiting for news about their relatives.
"The more they continue their aggression, the stronger the Iraqi people ... will be in facing them," President Saddam Hussein and his top leadership figures said in a statement.
"We shall fight them on ground, sky and sea and their aggression will deepen their failure," said the statement from a joint meeting of the Revolutionary Command Council and the ruling al-Baath Party chaired by Saddam.
Friday was the first time in nearly two years that air raids sirens have sounded over the Iraqi capital, and while some huddled in fear inside their houses, others ventured out to watch the sky.
"How many times do they destroy what they themselves said they have already destroyed?" asked Samih Jamal, a 54-year-old retired government worker.
Arab League secretary-general Esmat Abdel Meguid denounced the airstrikes as an "unwarranted aggression" that worsens the plight of the Iraqi people. The league would support Iraq, but "our stance is a political one. We don't have jets or missiles," he told The Associated Press.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.