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04-05-03, 02:43 AM #1
We are in Baghdad, in the heart of the city
04-05-03, 02:49 AM #2
Do you think the Iraqis collapsed too easily? Could they be giving up ground to pull our troops into one of their creative defenses?
04-05-03, 02:58 AM #3
They haven't been too creative lately, and if these reports are true, they don't have much more real eatate to give up.
Kuwait City - US armour penetrated the "heart of Baghdad" early on Saturday encountering occasionally stiff resistance from Iraqi forces using rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and horizontally fired anti-aircraft weapons, CNN reported.
"Right now elements of the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division - that is a tank unit - are rolling in the heart of Baghdad itself. They are deep within the city limits," the US-based network's correspondent on the city's outskirts, Walter Rodgers, said in a live dispatch.
"They are encountering resistance ... stiff resistance at times," he said, citing US military sources.
The Iraqi defenders were using 20mm anti-aircraft guns in "direct fire mode" to pound US forces with shrapnel, as well as RPGs and small-arms fire, he added.
The resistance "may have slowed progress, but there is continuing progress" into the capital, he said, adding that it must have been "quite a jolt" for Baghdad residents as they woke up to see coalition forces on their doorsteps.
The incursion into Baghdad followed the announcement by US commanders that they had seized control of the capital's international airport, just 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the city centre. - Sapa-AFP
04-05-03, 03:07 AM #4
I hope the Iraqis are only creative in talking trash.
20 mm direct fire sounds brutal.
Thanks for the update.
04-05-03, 03:07 AM #5
CENCOM is now saying that both armour, infantry, and air support will be plainly visible to the public & the news media.
I can't wait to hear what the Iraqi Information Minister has to say about this. He's been spinning some real whoppers lately.
04-05-03, 03:21 AM #6
Sometimes I hear the Iraqi reports through a local radio station driving to work. I lmao at the slant on those reports from Baghdad. Still seems eerie to me. I remember times when I caught somebody pulling some sh*t and they tried to convince me that I hadn't seen it (always p*ssed me off). The Iraqi reports (and much of the anti-war talk) reminds me of that.
04-05-03, 03:23 AM #7
Greybeard, yer just jealous, 'cause you can't lie like like yerself! LOL
04-05-03, 03:31 AM #8
Man, I don't know anyone that can tell that many lies at one sittin.
Evidently lyin ain't a sin in Islam.
04-05-03, 03:57 AM #9
LMAO. At least not that many big ones at one sittin'! LOL
04-05-03, 08:15 AM #10
Bones will teach you, Bones will say things and it'll take you weeks before you realize what he said... LOL
get you to thinking...LOL
04-05-03, 08:36 AM #11
The Iraqis that dont stand down will be hurt badly
04-05-03, 09:45 AM #12
Summer in the City
It's going to be a long, night for them, in the city
04-05-03, 09:45 AM #13
Civilians Flee Baghdad
With Baghdad's electricity and water still cut off, explosions reverberating across the city and with short-wave radio reports announcing the capture of the airport, thousands of residents packed their families into cars, trucks, buses and anything else with wheels and headed out of the capital. Most headed toward farming villages northeast of the city, causing traffic on some roads to back up for as many as five miles.
U.S. commanders have been surprised at the paucity of stiff resistance, particularly from the Republican Guard, as U.S. forces charged toward Baghdad. Although some U.S. military officials asserted that the 70,000-soldier Republican Guard was a largely broken force, others warned that Guard units still could pose a threat to U.S. troops massing outside Baghdad.
McChrystal said two of the Guard's six divisions have been destroyed and the other four are "significantly degraded," although he added that the exact condition and number of the remaining forces were unclear. Some U.S. officials have noted that elements of the four remaining Guard divisions have been trying to circle around the city in recent days to challenge front-line U.S. units on the southern approaches. Many Guard soldiers also may have retreated into Baghdad with the apparent intention of luring U.S. forces into urban combat.
With Baghdad's outer defenses in a state of apparent collapse, Army and Marine war planners met Friday to coordinate options for the capital itself. Although they focused on replenishing extended front-line troops, U.S. commanders were eager to take advantage of what they saw as a new situation. "We have to get ahead of it, and that's what we're trying to do," said Col. Fred Milburn, who coordinates planning for the Marines. "The situation is dynamic right now. We see opportunity, and we want to take advantage of it."
Commanders said they are reluctant to enter the city in force, fearing that urban combat in the sprawling city would be a treacherous and bloody undertaking. As a consequence, military officials in Washington said the Army and Marine forces arriving on Baghdad's outskirts will form a cordon around the city and mount targeted raids, rather than try immediately to seize control of the entire capital.
"The hope is that Baghdad doesn't turn out to be a larger version of Basra," a senior official said, referring to Iraq's second-largest city, where hundreds of die-hard militiamen and Hussein loyalists have held off thousands of British troops for nearly two weeks.
Fueling fears of urban combat is the presence of the Special Republican Guard, paramilitary forces and troops from Hussein's secret police in the center of the city. The Special Republican Guard, commanded by Hussein's younger son, Qusay, is a force of between 15,000 and 25,000 trained in urban warfare.
Marines Meet Resistance
As the Marines advanced on Baghdad from the southeast, they were challenged by a contingent of Iraqi forces that had regrouped on the outskirts of the capital, attacking with ferocity and coordination -- and reminding the Americans that resistance could get stiffer as they enter the capital. An estimated 2,000 Iraqi troops, Republican Guard, regular army and paramilitary fighters, held up the Marines for hours with a hail of rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire. The Iraqi defenders took out three U.S. tanks and forced two U.S. attack helicopters to the ground, according to reports reaching Marine headquarters.
Eight Marines were injured, but no deaths were reported.
Ultimately, the Marines responded with an intense barrage of artillery fire, tank rounds and airstrikes, enabling them to push through after hours of combat.
"This is the heaviest resistance we've run into to date," said Lt. Col David Pere, senior watch officer in the Marine command center. "It was a coordinated defense. They were volley-firing RPGs. . . . It takes a command and control. It takes a boss telling everyone to fire. They've got command and control."
Even so, the Iraqi defenders, grouped loosely under the Nida Armored Division of the Republican Guard, did little more than slow the Marine assault. By the end of the day Friday, the 1st Marine Division had reached the edge of the capital and seized a key intersection in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood about 12 miles from the city center, their primary objective. A Pentagon official said at least two of the Nida Division's three brigades were destroyed by the Marines.
Fighting for Airport
The U.S. 3rd Infantry Division also faced significant resistance as it sought to capture the airport Thursday, leading soldiers to unleash an earth-shaking barrage of artillery and volleys of rockets. U.S. military officials estimate that 2,500 Iraqis were killed in the battle for the airport and 100 Iraqi tanks were destroyed.
As Marine and Army units moved beyond the arid deserts of southern Iraq and into the verdant terrain between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, they encountered another surprise: Crowds of people gathering on the side of the road, waving as the convoys rolled by. "Thank you! Thank you!" some shouted. Others shouted the Arabic word for "go on," screaming: "Yallah! Yallah!"
Iraqi officials nevertheless repeated that victory was within their reach. They dismissed the loss of Saddam International Airport and declared that U.S. forces there are besieged.
"We consider it an isolated island," Sahhaf said at a news conference in Baghdad, in remarks sprinkled with boasts of Iraqi perseverance and insults of the United States. "Our initial assessment is that none of them will get out alive."
He warned that Iraqi forces would employ non-conventional attacks to retake the airport -- a possible reference to suicide attacks. Shortly after he spoke, state television broadcast a brief address by Hussein in which he implored citizens and Baath Party faithful to take up arms against the Americans.
"The enemy is overtaking our valiant defenses around Baghdad just like it did around other cities," he said. "They are deploying here and there, just like we expected, and these deployments are normally thin, and we can confront them with the weapons available."
In the city of Najaf, a Shiite Muslim stronghold about 90 miles south of Baghdad that had been scene of furious battles between U.S. troops and Iraqi militiamen earlier this week, soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division began pulling out after judging the threat lowered. The 101st plans to leave a single brigade of 3,000 soldiers to maintain order, while much of the rest of the division's 17,000 soldiers will focus on operations to the north.
In contrast to the pitched street battles and artillery blasts that rocked Najaf just a few days ago, the city was relatively peaceful, with pedestrian and vehicle traffic returning to normal. "It's like being in Quincy, Florida," said Col. Ben Hodges, commander of the 101st Airborne's 1st Brigade and a native of the Sunshine State. "Cars, buses, people playing soccer, more kids on the street than I've seen any day so far."
But efforts by U.S. officials to meet with the city's preeminent Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, were once again unsuccessful. U.S. commanders would like to enlist Sistani's help in pacifying the Shiite majority throughout Iraq, but the scholar has remained in seclusion. The Central Command said Sistani issued a religious decree Thursday calling on Iraqis not to interfere with U.S. and British forces. But on Friday, his office denied to Arab news agencies that he had issued such a statement. Five other prominent Shiite scholars in the city issued a competing edict that called on Iraqi people to confront the U.S. and British "enemies."
Along the U.S. forces' supply line to the south, troops with 82nd Airborne Division took control of much of the key Euphrates River city of Samawah, ensuring that lines of communication and transit through the city remain open.
Baker reported from Marine Combat Headquarters in Iraq. Correspondent Rick Atkinson and staff writers William Branigin, Jonathan Finer and Monte Reel with U.S. forces, correspondent Alan Sipress in Doha, Qatar, and staff writer Bradley Graham in Washington contributed to this report.
© 2003 The Washington Post Company
04-05-03, 11:07 AM #14
It's been a long time since I got to post anything here, and I guess it'll be a lot longer since my unit, Delta Co., 4th LAR, is flying out this afternoon to Kuwait City. It's not going to be easy from all the news I've been hearing, but we're up and ready to go.
I hope everything will go well. Have a beer or two for me.
LCpl F. A. Race
Delta Co, 4th LAR
04-05-03, 11:26 AM #15
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