The shelling of Aldi began on February 3 and ended the following afternoon. At least five civilians died in the shelling. Three witnesses interviewed separately by Human Rights Watch stated that Russian planes dropped cluster bombs on Aldi. Akhmed A. (name withheld) told Human Rights Watch that on the morning of February 3, he, alongwith about one hundred local residents, went to District Twenty to talk to the Russian commanders and to tell them that there were no fighters in Aldi. Akhmed. A. told Human Rights Watch what happened later that day:
Before February 3, virtually no houses were damaged. About midday, the Russians started bombing and shelling-planes dropped bombs on parachutes, helicopters over Minutka13 were firing. They dropped big bombs and bombs that exploded in the air that then released about ten bombs on parachutes-cluster bombs [kassetnie in Russian]. The bombing destroyed parts of Third Tsimliansky Lane and Irtyshskaia Street."14
Sultan Aidaev stated that he was with his father in Aldi on February 3 when Russian planes started to drop cluster bombs. Aidaev told Human Rights Watch:
On February 3, I was getting ready to make some bread for my father. When I was washing my hands, I heard planes. Then I heard a bang from the plane. At that moment, my father was entering the house. My father said that parachutes were thrown from the planes. I told him to take cover. I had seen parachute bombs from a safe distance when they were dropped on Okruzhnaia.15 I saw the bombs explode in the air-like fireworks-they exploded before they hit the ground, they looked like they were controllable. They produced a lot of shrapnel and blew off the roofs of houses. I think that the bombs with parachutes dropped on Aldi were the same.1613 Minutka Square, the center of Grozny and the scene of some of the heaviest fighting of the war. 14 Human Rights Watch interview, Karabulak, Ingushetia, March 5, 2000. 15 Okruzhnaia, a street on the edge of Aldi. 16 Human Rights Watch interview, Kantyshevo, Ingushetia, March 17, 2000.