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March 20, 2003
 
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(AP Photo)
Blasts, Anti-Aircraft Fire Rock Baghdad
Detonations, Anti-Aircraft Fire Rock Baghdad; Explosions Heard in Area of Saddam's Palaces

The Associated Press


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U.S. Military Launches Attack on Iraq
Who's Calling the Shots Against Iraq?
Reporters On the Move with U.S. Forces
BAGHDAD, Iraq March 20

Heavy detonations and the crackle of anti-aircraft fire were heard Thursday night in Baghdad.

Red and white tracers streaked across the night sky beginning several hours after sunset about 9 p.m. and the flash of explosions could be seen on the horizon.

Anti-aircraft fire was constant as the explosions rumbled in the distance.

As the attack continued, explosions could be heard from the west side of the Tigris River where at least two of Saddam Hussein's palaces and the intelligence headquarters are located.

Explosions and large clouds of gray smoke appeared to be closer to the heart of the city.

A huge plume of smoke could be seen from the west bank of the Tigris in central Baghdad but it could not be determined what was hit.

Meanwhile, F-14 and F-18 jets took off from the USS Theodore Roosevelt in the eastern Mediterranean, armed with missiles and bombs.

CNN reported that a building was hit in what is known as Baghdad's presidential area. The building is associated with the ministry of planning.

Three distinct locations in the center of Baghdad were smoking after apparently being bombed.

During the 1991 Gulf War, the skies of Baghdad lit up with anti-aircraft fire. But this time, the fire was less intense.

Baghdad was last bombed in December 1998.

Reporters familiar with the city said television pictures apparently showed Saddam's main presidential complex on fire.


photo credit and caption:
British Royal Marines from 40 Commando Brigade deployed on the HMS Ocean, during a disembarkation exercise in the Kuwaiti Desert, Thursday, March 20, 2003, in preparation for possible military action in Iraq. After the first the bombs and cruise missiles fell on Baghdad early Thursday, reports said at least three missiles were fired by Iraq into Kuwait. (AP Photo/Gaz Armes, POOL)

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
 
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