U.S. forces in
Iraq are searching for holdout Iraqi fighters even as
coalition efforts shift to non-military goals such as
providing aid and security.
Armed U.S. Marines Tuesday raided rooms in Baghdad's
Palestine Hotel, the home base for most foreign journalists
covering the war in Iraq. The Marines kicked down doors as
they searched two floors of the hotel and were seen guarding
several suspects in a hallway.
The Marines said intelligence reports had indicated the
building was not entirely safe.
U.S. soldiers are conducting similar operations today in
Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, one day after capturing
the city north of Baghdad. Tikrit was the last major Iraqi
city to fall into coalition hands.
The U.S. Central Command says coalition forces are working
to restore water and electricity in cities where it was
knocked out during the fighting. Central Command spokesman
Brigadier General Vincent Brooks also said all fires at Iraqi
oil wells have been snuffed out.
Defense officials say they are beginning to scale back
military operations. Two aircraft carrier battle groups that
have been in the Arabian Sea are going back to their bases,
and radar-evading B-2 stealth bombers have already returned to
the United States.
General Stanley McChrystal of the Pentagon's Joint Staff
says Iraqi forces are no longer mounting any "coherent
defense" and that major combat operations are over. But he
says there will be a need for combat power in Iraq for some
time to maintain or establish a safe and secure environment.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says the United States
will play a major role in helping Iraqis recover and restore
antiquities stolen or damaged from Iraqi museums by looters in