BAGHDAD, IRAQ—Baghdad resident Taha Sabri, killed Monday in a U.S. air strike on his city, would have loved the eventual liberation of Iraq and establishment of democracy, had he lived to see it, his grieving widow said.

Taha Sabri

"Taha was a wonderful man, a man of peace," his wife Sawssan said. "I just know he would have been happy to see free elections here in Iraq, had that satellite-guided Tomahawk cruise missile not strayed off course and hit our home."

A shoemaker and father of five, Sabri, 44, was listening to the radio at 3 a.m. when a missile launched from a U.S. warship in the Persian Gulf veered off course and struck just feet from his house. Sawssan was away at the time, tending to an ailing aunt in the Baghdad suburb of Mansour.

The Sabris' home.

"My husband was no fan of Saddam," Sawssan said. "He felt he was a terrible despot. If the Americans do drive him from power, it will be that much more of a shame that they killed Taha."