Day 14, latest reports
Spot 1 U.S. Troops free local cleric
U.S. forces were taking fire from the Ali
Mosque but not shooting back because it is one of the most important Shiite
Muslim sites. Soldiers freed a local Shiite cleric
from years of house arrest by Saddam's regime.
Spot 2 Convoys chokes road north
The highway leading out of Nasiriyah was
choked with coalition military convoys headed north. Vehicles churned up
billowing clouds of dust as they drove through a barren landscape of cracked
land dotted with green clumps of grass. Blown bunkers and collapsed buildings
flanked the road.
Spot 3 U.S. rescues POW
U.S. commandos staged a nighttime raid on an
Iraqi hospital in Nasiriyah to rescue Pfc. Jessica Lynch, a prisoner of war who
had been held since the 507th Maintenance Company was ambushed in the city. The
rescue team retrieved 11 bodies from the hospital, at least some of them
believed to be Americans.
Spot 4 Basra fight continues
British forces skirmished with Iraqi
defenders in the encircled city of Basra while hoping that civilians turn
against the paramilitary fighters.
|Spot 1 Bombs target Baghdad phones
||Spot 2 Euphrates crossing captured
||Spot 3 U.S. Black Hawk shot down
Spot 4 3rd Infantry drives forward
|Spot 5 Marines seize important bridge
||Spot 6 Coalition cross Tigris near Al Kut |
| Baghdad again came
under intense bombardment Wednesday, with telephone exchanges among the
targets hit. Iraqi television broadcast a statement attributed to Saddam
Hussein, declaring that, "victory is at hand." Saddam did not appear in
Lead elements of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division
pushed through a gap west of Karbala and captured a bridge across the
Euphrates River near here. They met little resistance, facing only
sporadic blasts of small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire.
The bridge was rigged with explosives, which were
defused by engineers to allow U.S. units across the river.
| A U.S. Army Black Hawk
helicopter was shot down by small arms fires went down near the site of
fierce fighting between U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division and Iraqi
troops, including Republincan Guard. There are unconfirmed reports of
In an attack launched at midnight, 3rd Infantry
units surged past the strategic city of Karbala, targeting an estimated
2,000 paramilitary fighters. Karbala, which stis on the main approach to
Baghdad from the southwest, was encircled and hit by a steady bombardment
from U.S. artillery and warplanes.
Marines took a key bridge here without a fight, as
many Iraqi soldiers surrendered and others simply traded their Iraqi army
uniforms for civlilian clothes.
Marines units were erecting a pontoon bridge in the
area to help the flow of troops and supplies toward Baghdad.
Central Command said the 1st Marine Expeditionary
Force crossed the Tigris River and destroyed the Baghdad Division of the
Republican Guard. The river crossing at Al Kut opens a key highway
approach to Baghdad from the southeast.
(Source: USA Today. updated 10:45 pm ET, April 2)