U.S. Troops Control Baghdad Airport

(Washington Post) - American commanders said more than 2,000 Iraqi troops were killed during the advance north. Special Operations forces holding a dam on the Euphrates near Karbala were fighting a running battle with Iraqis to hold the facility and prevent any attempt to blow the dam, which would flood and cut the Army's main supply route. One of Iraq's most prominent Shiite clerics, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, issued a fatwa, or edict, instructing Muslims not to interfere with allied forces seeking to defeat irregular troops loyal to Baghdad. (New York Times) Col. John Peabody, commander of the 3rd Infantry's Engineer Brigade, said U.S. troops "control the airport." Special Forces troops control key highways leading into Baghdad from the north and east, cutting off exit routes for government officials, and they are active in and around the city, hunting Hussein and other Iraqi leaders and seeking to sow confusion in the city's defenses. The paramilitary attacks that had bedeviled U.S. and British troops for most of the first two weeks of the war seemed to subside. After expecting a stiff fight from Republican Guard divisions defending Baghdad, U.S. forces were surprised to discover the Iraqi units mainly a shambles of scattered forces and abandoned equipment.

2003-04-04 00:00:00

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