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April 5, 2003
 
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(AP Photo)
A Brief Overview of the Battlefield
A Brief Overview of the Battlefield

The Associated Press


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The 3rd Infantry Division tightened control over the southwestern outskirts of Baghdad, and elements of the 1st Marine Division spread out through areas just east of the capital. Allied troops also were on the northern and northwest edges of the city, a U.S. military official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Here's a summary of recent information from units in those positions, followed by other battlefield developments. The reports are culled from official assessments and from journalists of The Associated Press and member news organizations traveling with American units in Iraq.

IN AND AROUND BAGHDAD

Armed troops, militiamen and Baath party loyalists took up positions along major roads leading south, southeast and west of the city.

On Baghdad's southern edge, destroyed Iraqi tanks and other vehicles littered the streets. At least one burned out U.S. tank and armored personnel carrier were within the city, according to a report by National Public Radio.

One U.S. official said American units were not moving in, but passing through city areas where possible to show their willingness to fight President Saddam Hussein's men on their own streets.

Coalition bombing continued, its purpose having shifted to preparing Baghdad for U.S. ground troops, Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Moseley told The Associated Press.

Lt. Col. Lee Fetterman, a battalion commander with the 101st Airborne Division, said several hundred Iraqis were killed at the airport 10 miles southwest of the city, an airport now controlled by U.S. forces. A Central Command official said one of the two runways would be functional "very rapidly" and the facility would be used by the U.S. military.

To the southeast, elements of the 1st Marines Expeditionary Force had penetrated the Al Nida division of the Republican Guard.

SOUTH OF BAGHDAD

U.S. soldiers swept a Republican Guard base about 10 miles north of Hillah on Highway 8, the third such base overrun by the U.S. Army with little or no resistance.

The Evening Star of Ipswich, England, reported that Iraqi soldiers were shelled by their own forces as they tried to surrender in southern Iraq. Members of the 16 Air Assault Brigade witnessed a crowd of Iraqi troops bearing white flags come under fire in a village west of Basra.

Coalition aircraft struck the Basra residence of Saddam's cousin, Gen. Ali Hassan "Chemical Ali" al-Majid, commander of Iraq's southern forces, Central Command said.

IN THE NORTH

Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks told reporters that special operations forces were "maintaining effective control" of the roads between Baghdad and Tikrit, Saddam's hometown.

Central Command Air Force Maj. Gen. Gene Renuart said coalition troops have seen "a number" of Republican Guard units in Tikrit, although the exact number wasn't known since some moved south to bolster Baghdad's defense.

The combination of American air strikes and Kurdish ground attacks in the north has driven Iraqi government forces back from the Kurdish frontier toward the two main northern districts in Baghdad hands: Mosul and Kirkuk, center of northern Iraq's oil industry. The Kurds were now less than 20 miles from each city.


photo credit and caption:
U.S. Navy Capt. Frank Thorp, a spokesman at U.S. Central Command, addresses reporters at the Central Command Media Center in Doha, Qatar, Friday, April 4, 2003. U.S. Marines have reported that about 2,500 Iraqi Republican Guards surrendered between the cities of Kut and Baghdad, U.S. Central Command said Friday. (AP Photo/Richard Lewis)

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
 
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