NEWS - DAY FOUR OF THE WAR
* U.S. troops meet resistance on way towards Baghdad as
bombs, missiles pound Saddam's capital for fourth day
* Huge blasts rock Baghdad in fresh daylight raid as planes
hit single target with at least seven huge bombs
* Iraqi, U.S. forces clash near central holy city of Najaf;
U.S., British use tanks, aircraft to try to end standoff in
southern city of Umm Qasr; U.S., British forces say they have
defeated Iraqi forces in Basra outskirts
* Iraqi troops fire at unidentified targets in Baghdad
river after reports U.S. or British pilots may have ejected;
U.S. says no reports Western pilots had bailed out over
* Iraqi TV shows Saddam in meeting with senior military
officers; not clear when, where meeting took place
U.S. Air Force Major-General Daniel Leaf: "It's going more
rapidly than I expected. We're making very, very rapid
Iraqi Foreign Minister on reports Iraqi leaders have been
killed: "These are fables launched by American and Zionist
(TV) stations and repeated by some media published in Arabic."
U.S. defence official on reports Western pilots were
ejected from aircraft over Baghdad: "We have no reports of
that. I haven't seen anything on that."
BAGHDAD: Waves of bombs and missiles pound Baghdad for a
fourth day. Power was briefly knocked out. Iraqi forces set
oil-filled trenches ablaze around the capital in an apparent
bid to create a smokescreen.
CENTRAL IRAQ: Ground forces approached Najaf, 100 miles
(160 km) south of Baghdad. Speeding columns of the U.S. Third
Infantry have covered nearly two thirds of the 500 km (300
miles) from the Kuwaiti border in two days before running into
Iraqi resistance near Najaf on the southwest bank of the
U.S. commanders believe the Medina Division of Saddam's
Republican Guard, better equipped than the regular army, is
SOUTHERN IRAQ: U.S. and British tank units advanced on the
southern city of Basra on Sunday, where Iraqi forces fought
back to keep them out of the city. Iraq says 77 civilians have
been killed in Basra, most of them with cluster bombs.
Fighting on the outskirts of the southern Iraqi city of
Nassiriya has blocked an advance by U.S. forces there.
Earlier, Marines had reported seizing control of
bridgeheads on the north bank of the Euphrates river,
positioning them to strike further in the direction of
U.S. and Iraqi forces battled in the southern Iraqi port
town of Umm Qasr on Sunday, with tanks and aircraft attacking
targets where at least 120 Iraqi Republican Guards were
reported to be dug in.
Britain says a Royal Air Force plane that went missing near
the Kuwait border was likely shot down by a U.S. Patriot
NORTHERN IRAQ: In what appeared to be air strikes on Iraqi
frontline troops, Mosul, near the frontline with Kurdish-held
northern Iraq, came under attack from the air on Sunday.
An Iraqi Kurdish group running part of northern Iraq said
U.S. forces launched second day of missile strikes there
against Ansar al-Islam positions near the Iranian border. The
Islamist group is accused by Washington of links to al Qaeda.
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