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Summary of War Developments Today

Summary of War Developments Today

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Key developments Thursday in the war in Iraq:

-- The allied air campaign is shifting to targets mostly in northern Iraq while backing up Army and Marine ground troops in Baghdad and elsewhere.

-- U.S.-led forces were poised to enter the northern city of Mosul where remnants of Saddam Hussein's forces have offered to surrender if granted amnesty.

-- A crowd hacked to death two Shiite Muslim clerics -- one a Saddam Hussein loyalist, the other a returning exile -- during a meeting in Najaf meant to forge reconciliation at one of Shiite Islam's holiest shrines, witnesses said.

-- Iraqi fighters inside a mosque opened fire on U.S. Marines who were hunting for regime leaders there. Officers in the area said one Marine was killed and 20 were wounded.

-- Kurdish fighters swept into Kirkuk and other areas around Iraq's northern oil fields. Secretary of State Colin Powell said the Kurds would be replaced by U.S. forces under an agreement he made with Turkey.

-- An apparent suicide attacker detonated explosives at a U.S. checkpoint in central Baghdad, wounding four soldiers.

-- Thousands of people in Baghdad looted government offices and the police academy, setting fires and making off with furniture, TVs and air conditioners.

-- President Bush said in a televised address to Iraqis, "Your nation will soon be free." Prime Minister Tony Blair said coalition soldiers are "friends and liberators, not your conquerors."

-- Saddam's fate remained unknown. Hoping to resolve the mystery, U.S. special operations forces examined a site in a Baghdad neighborhood that was bombed Monday based on intelligence that Saddam and at least one of his sons were there.

-- Members of the U.N. Security Council said they want a political role in Iraq's future and object to the supporting duties envisioned by the United States and Britain.

-- The leaders of France and Germany were adamant that the United Nations must play a major role in the rebuilding of post-Saddam Iraq.

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

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