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Sources: Massive attack on Iraq to start tonight
20-03-2003, 15:22
U.S. President Bush conferred with his national security adviser early Thursday on the initial strikes against Iraq.

Bush said the hostilities that began Wednesday night with a narrow focus on "selected targets of military importance" will become a "broad and concerted campaign."

After a brief night of sleep, the president talked to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice at 6 a.m. Thursday to learn of overnight events, said a senior administration official. Bush began work in the Oval Office at 6:50 a.m., reports said.

Bush met with his war council early Thursday, including CIA Director George Tenet, who briefed the president on results on the strike against Iraqi leaders.

On Wednesday afternoon, Tenet had told Bush that U.S. intelligence had a probable fix on the residence where Saddam and other Iraqi leaders would be sleeping in the early morning hours in Baghdad, U.S. officials said. Bush then authorized the strike.

Those other Iraqi leaders were believed to include Saddam's two sons, Qusai and Uday. Officials said it was unclear Thursday whether any of the three were near the target, or had been killed.

Two other U.S. officials, according to AP, said Thursday that the strikes were a small prelude to a massive assault that was to begin as early as Thursday. Israel Radio quoted unnamed senior Israeli officials as saying the main offensive could begin after nightfall Thursday. It should be mentioned that on early Thursday U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell held a phone conversation with Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon.

Meanwhile, Saddam's son, Uday called on his Saddam Fedayeen paramilitary volunteer force to be prepared to die as "martyrs" against US-led invaders.

"This is the day that we wanted Iraq's (women) to ululate for us either as victorious heroes or as faithful martyrs," Uday was quoted as saying by the state news agency INA.

The "martyrs will fulfill their pledge to God, happy to be the first to become martyrs in the defense of our great Iraq," he said Thursday. (Albawaba.com)
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