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