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Old 04-07-2003, 12:11 AM   #1
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New phase in ground war begins in Iraq

heavy "show of force" by US troops in the city of Baghdad is beginning now. I'm watching CNN now.


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Old 04-07-2003, 12:21 AM   #2
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I really wish they'd stop calling things such outlandish names, shock and awe? heavy show of force?

Ideally I think we shouldn't be covering it 24 hours a day either, in the information age i guess.

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Old 04-07-2003, 12:26 AM   #3
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Heavy Fighting in Baghdad
VOA News
07 Apr 2003, 04:59 UTC

U.S. tanks and armored vehicles attacked central Baghdad Monday, and the Iraqi capital rang with the sound of artillery blasts and machine-gun fire. Low-flying coalition warplanes covered the armored columns as American troops battled Iraqi forces. Heavy fighting was reported on the outskirts of Baghdad, but action also was intense in the city center, where one of Saddam Hussein's palace compounds was the target of an artillery assault.

The American forces' thrust into Baghdad came after a night of sporadic explosions in the city of five-million people. Reporters in the city heard massive explosions near dawn.

The Iraqi capital is believed to be encircled by coalition forces. U.S. military officials said Sunday that they control all roads leading to the city.

The U.S. forces also have begun using Baghdad international airport, which they seized last week. A U.S. military transport plane landed at the airport Sunday.

U.S. troops also are reported to have taken control of the center of Karbala, 80 kilometers south of Baghdad. Karbala is a holy city to Shi'ite Muslims.

In southern Iraq, British soldiers entered Basra from several fronts after a two-week siege, and now control much of Iraq's second-largest city. British officials say they lost three troops in Sunday's fighting.

In another development, a statement attributed to Saddam Hussein called on Iraqi forces to join up with any army units they could find. Pictures of the Iraqi leader with his two sons were shown on television, but there was no clear indication when they were taken.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters
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Old 04-07-2003, 12:32 AM   #4
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Apr 7, 1:21 AM EDT

U.S. Seize Key Buildings in Baghdad

Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- U.S. troops seized key buildings in the center of the Iraqi capital on Monday, including a major presidential palace and the Information Ministry.

Reporters saw the tanks roll into the heart of Baghdad on the western side of the Tigris River, which divides the city. Also occupied was the Al-Rashid Hotel.

The 2nd Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division entered the city at 6 a.m. moving up highway and meeting only moderated resistance mostly from infantry. They took assault fire and rocket propelled grenades.

The U.S. Army columns moved from southeast to northeast to the newest and main presidential palace on the Tigris.

Iraqis fled along the river, some jumping in the water.

Attack Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry entered the compound and began securing the building and searched the grounds.

They drew small arms fire from a clock tower overlooking the compound. Tanks quickly destroyed it.

Most of the compound was severely damaged from prior U.S. raids.

Col. David Perkins told his troops before the operation that the mission was intended to be "a dramatic show of force" to demonstrate that U.S. forces can enter Baghdad at any time, anywhere.

The Bradley fighting vehicles and tanks took up fighting positions around the presidential palace on the way in, up Highway 8.

U.S. troops had to pass through a 400-yard-long minefield to approach the area.

There were 200 anti-tank mines spread on the road and U.S. troops pushed them aside and proceeded down the highway.

Across the river on the southern tip of the old palace presidential compound on the west bank of the Tigris, fire raged in what used to be an army camp.

There was no sign of any Iraqi troops after a group was seen running northward. Two Iraqi tanks sat motionless as heavy machine gun and light arms fire continued.

Groups of U.S. soldiers moved in the direction where the Iraqi soldiers fled. Members of Saddam's Fedayeen paramilitary fighters prevented journalists from leaving their hotel.

Iraqi troops did not use any mortars or artillery against the American forces.

F-16 fighter jets flew ahead of the U.S. armored column, bombing any tanks or armored personnel carriers along the way.

U.S. troops also fired mortars on key intersections before passing through. Tanks took up positions around key intersections.

Black smoke clogged the air and covered the city.

The stepped-up assault on Baghdad followed a weekend of incursions by U.S. forces in tanks and armored personnel carriers. Troops rolled through streets of the capital "destroying all of the enemy vehicles and personnel with whom they've come in contact," Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told CNN on Sunday.

"One of the points is to destroy the enemy that we found, and the last two raids have been very, very successful at doing that," he said.

Intermittent explosions were heard in the city Sunday night into Monday, along with periodic anti-aircraft fire. Shortly before dawn, aircraft could be heard over the capital and heavier explosions shook downtown buildings, echoing from the southern outskirts.

After sunrise, a long series of blasts rocked Baghdad and dark gray smoke rose on the horizon to the south and southwest. Residents could hear what seemed to be the sound of surface-to-surface rockets, artillery and aircraft.

Prayers broadcast from Baghdad's mosques filtered through the din of battle. "God is great and to him we owe thanks," clerics intoned every time the city came under attack.

Meanwhile, Marines closing in on Baghdad from the south were ordered to remove their chemical warfare suits for the first time in 20 days. Presumably, commanders have determined the threat of a chemical or biological weapons attack had lessened enough to allow troops to shed the gear, stifling in the hot desert.

South of the capital, U.S. forces took control of the center of the holy city of Karbala on Sunday after block-by-block fighting, the Army Times newspaper reported from the scene.

Suggesting disarray among Iraq's elite fighters, Saddam Hussein urged Iraqi troops separated from their combat units to join other squads to fend off the Americans, in a statement read Sunday on Iraqi television and radio.

The statement also said anyone who destroys an allied tank, armored personnel carrier or artillery would be awarded 15 million dinars, or about $8,000 by the unofficial exchange rate.

Iraqi satellite television showed brief footage of a smiling Saddam in military uniform chairing a meeting it said was held Sunday with his top aides.

In a separate announcement, a broadcaster for Iraqi state radio read a decree by Saddam that two female suicide bombers be awarded posthumously the medal of the Al-Rafdin - or "The Two Rivers" - the nation's highest decoration, and that their families be given 50 million dinars or about $28,000 each.

The attack last week in western Iraq killed three U.S. soldiers at a checkpoint 80 miles from the Syrian border.

On Sunday, the streets of the capital crawled with black-clad Fedayeen militia, the armed loyalists of the ruling Baath Party, and teenagers with guns.

Iraqi troops clambered up what they claimed was an allied tank destroyed in a Sunday morning battle. They made V-for-victory signs and chanted slogans in support of Saddam.

The U.S. Central Command said coalition soldiers killed up to 3,000 Iraqi troops in Saturday's incursion into the capital. Iraqi leaders denied heavy casualties and took pains to show they were still in control.

In a statement aired on state-run television, Iraq claimed Sunday its forces had killed 50 enemy troops and wounded scores of others in the previous 24 hours. It also said they had destroyed 27 tanks and damaged 10 others; destroyed 13 armored personnel carriers and shot down two Apache helicopters.

Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf warned Baghdad residents against "rumors" and "lies."

"Open your eyes and keep your minds alert to be able to differentiate between information and the inadequate ones," he said in a press briefing Sunday. He urged residents to remain calm and not to fire guns without being told.

The escalation of violence appeared be taking its toll Baghdad residents. At the al-Kindi hospital in a working-class neighborhood, scores of people with shrapnel wounds have been coming in since Saturday night. Among them were eight members of one family.

In one ward, several children wore bloodstained casts on their legs and arms, and some had difficulty breathing. One girl had bandages over half her face. Most children gazed aimlessly while their parents tried to comfort them.

A Saudi man had both legs amputated below the knee. He said he was hit in the southern district of al-Doura on Saturday night during an allied air raid. "God willed it and what he wanted was done," Roweijah Al-Oteibi said from his hospital bed.

Iraq's state-run newspapers continued to publish, dominated by official statements, pictures of wounded civilians and news of anti-war protests around the world.

Al-Sahhaf blamed the Americans for the suffering of Baghdad residents. He claimed allied air strikes deliberately targeted power stations and accused U.S. troops of targeting civilians.

"They are killing civilians. Whenever they see an Iraqi person, they kill him, take him prisoner or kidnap him," he said.
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