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A Brief Overview of the Battlefield

A Brief Overview of the Battlefield

Posted - Apr. 8, 2003 at 8:55 p.m.



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The U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division solidified its hold on the west bank of the Tigris River in Baghdad on Tuesday. Elements of the division repelled an attack from the east by a hodgepodge of Iraqi forces. Further west in the Mansour neighborhood, rescuers recovered bodies from an airstrike aimed at killing members of the Iraqi leadership.

Here's a summary of reports about units in those positions, followed by other battlefield developments. The reports are culled from official assessments and from journalists of The Associated Press and member news organizations traveling with American units in Iraq.

IN AND AROUND BAGHDAD:

-- At least 50 Iraqi Republican Guard, Fedayeen and Baath Party loyalists were killed when they tried to overrun U.S. forces holding a strategic intersection along the Tigris.

A U.S. decision not to destroy bridges across the Tigris made it easier on the Iraqis, said Col. David Perkins of the 3rd Infantry, but U.S. forces prevailed and advanced.

Two U.S. soldiers were reported wounded by rooftop snipers in the capital.

In the city's far eastern section, U.S. Marines fought and won an intense battle for Baghdad's second airport, said Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks. The airport is in a "militarily significant" area between a bend in the Tigris just southeast of Baghdad and a tributary called the Diala that runs north.

Meanwhile, members of the U.S. Army's V Corps entered Baghdad from the north for the first time.

Military officials said Iraqi forces are in tatters and no longer able to mount a large-scale defense.

BASRA:

-- British troops in Iraq's second-largest city set up road blocks and began distributing water to quell public anger over the lack of basic necessities.

Although the British used armored personnel carriers and tanks to patrol the main street, a sense of lawlessness prevailed and looting continued.

"I want safety now. We want government, we want police. Now it's no good. Good people, honest people are afraid," said an engineer standing in front of the Sheraton Hotel. He declined to give his name.

NORTHERN IRAQ:

-- Kurdish forces squeezed their ring around the key oil center of Kirkuk to advance within sight of the city following heavy coalition airstrikes on front-line Iraqi positions.

Kirkuk is a little more than 100 miles northwest of Baghdad and is Iraq's No. 2 oil region. It is also one of two remaining northern strongholds of President Saddam Hussein's supporters.

Kurdish forces advised by U.S. ground troops and aided by coalition air power have steadily moved closer to Kirkuk and Mosul in the past week but have stopped short of mobilizing all-out offensives.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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