Search  
   
Good Morning America World News Tonight 20/20 Primetime Nightline WNN This Week
April 2, 2003
 
HOMEPAGE
NEWS SUMMARY
US
INTERNATIONAL
MONEYScope
WEATHER
LOCAL NEWS
ENTERTAINMENT
ESPN SPORTS
SCI / TECH
POLITICS
HEALTH
TRAVEL
FEATURED SERVICES
RELATIONSHIPS
SHOPPING
DOWNLOADS
WIRELESS
INTERACT
VIDEO & AUDIO
BOARDS
CHAT
NEWS ALERTS
CONTACT ABC
ABCNEWS.com


(AP Photo)
Army Fights Republican Guard in Karbala
U.S. Fights First Major Ground Battle With Saddam Hussein's Elite Republican Guard in Karbala

The Associated Press


Print This Page
Email This Page
See Most Sent
The Do's and Don'ts of Chemical Weapons
Portable 'Javelin' Give Soldiers Extra Edge
Tips on How You Can Save Money at Tax Time
NEAR KARBALA, Iraq April 2

U.S. soldiers spearheading the push toward Baghdad advanced through a gap west of Karbala on Wednesday after a night-long bombardment of the Shiite holy city and the first major ground battle against Saddam Hussein's hardcore Republican Guard.

As they made their way through the Karbala gap some 50 miles from the Iraqi capital, forces from the Army's 3rd Infantry Division launched a heavy attack on towns and positions north of Karbala, where 2,000 Fedayeen loyalists and Baath Party members were believed to be hunkered down.

At least 20 Iraqis were killed and an unknown number of fighters were taken prisoner, field reports said. No U.S. casualties were reported.

One tank belonging to the Republican Guard's Nebuchadnezzar's Division was also destroyed, field reports said.

Lt. Col. Scott Rutter, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, said Iraqi troops concentrated their attacks on his battalion, allowing the rest of the brigade to pass through the Karbala gap unscathed.

The gap is a chokepoint between a lake to the west and the city of Karbala to the east that opens onto a plain.

Farther to the east, Marines seized an important bridge over the Tigris River near the city of Kut amid fighting with the Baghdad Division of the Republican Guard, according to a Pentagon official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The bridge allowed thousands of Marines from the 1st Expeditionary Force to cross the river in their push toward Baghdad from the southeast.

Around Karbala, Iraqi defenders fired anti-aircraft guns into the sky most of the night, as U.S. artillery pounded suspected military positions in the ancient town. B-52 bombers circled Karbala throughout the night, carpet-bombing some areas while fighter jets went after small targets.

Late Tuesday, the Army fought parts of the guard's Medina Division after Tomahawk cruise missiles and airstrikes pounded division positions near Karbala.

Pentagon officials have said the Republican Guard must be eliminated before ground troops move on Baghdad. For more than a week, coalition airstrikes and artillery barrages have pounded Republican Guard units to the south, west and north of the capital.

The Pentagon's top general, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers, said the Medina Division's fighting strength had been reduced by more than half. Military officials said the Baghdad Division, centered around Kut, also has been similarly worn down.

An F-14 Tomcat fighter on a bombing mission in Iraq crashed late Tuesday because of mechanical failure and both crew members were rescued via helicopter, U.S. Central Command said. Neither was seriously injured.

That brings to 67 the number of coalition forces extracted from hostile situations by search-and-rescue teams, the military said.

The U.S. military would not give any further details of the accident.

Also, a Marine Corps VA-8B Harrier jet was lost while coming in for a landing on the amphibious assault ship USS Nassau. The jet plunged into the water. The pilot ejected and was in fair condition, military said.

Overnight, U.S. warplanes dropped 16 2,000-pound precision-guided bombs on an intelligence compound in the southern city of Basra and hit radar sites, a Republican Guard barracks and other targets in and around Baghdad, military officials said.

The intelligence compound about 10 multi-story buildings in a complex the size of a city block was severely damaged, said Lt. Brook DeWalt, a spokesman for the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk in the Persian Gulf.

The attack was the busiest night of the war so far for the Kitty Hawk's bombers.


photo credit and caption:
U.S. Marines of the 3rd batallion, 11th regiment, load shells as they fire on Iraqi positions with 155mm artillery near the town of Diwaniyah, south central Iraq, Tuesday, April 1, 2003. American soldiers on the road to Baghdad are engaged in heavy fighting with Iraqi forces loyal to Saddam Hussein, while the U.S.-led coalition launched missiles early Tuesday toward Baghdad and the holy Shiite Muslim city of Karbala in the southwest. (AP Photo/Laurent Rebours)

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

 
 
  RELATED STORIES
International Index
More Raw News
 
 INTERNATIONAL HEADLINES
U.S. Attacks on 100-Mile Iraqi Front
Why Better Firepower Flops in Urban Combat
Among U.S. Allies, Popular Support Often Weak
Saudi Leader Criticizes Bush, Saddam
Iraq War Raises Suspicion of New 'Crusade'

 


Copyright 2003 ABCNEWS Internet Ventures.
Click here for:  HELP   ADVERTISER INFO   CONTACT ABC   TOOLS   PR   TERMS OF USE   PRIVACY POLICY

Family of sites:      ABC.com        ABC Family        ESPN.com        Disney.com        FamilyFun.com        GO Mail        Movies.com