- Title: IRAQ: U.S.- LED FORCES CONTINUE THEIR AERIAL BOMBARDMENT ON BAGHDAD FOR 4TH DAY
- Date: 23rd March 2003
- Summary: (W5) BAGHDAD, IRAQ (MARCH 23, 2003) (REUTERS) VARIOUS: TRAIL IN THE SKY; PEOPLE RUNNING TO THE SOUND OF GUNFIRE; TRIAL IN SKY
- Embargoed: 7th April 2003 13:00
- Location: BAGHDAD, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Conflict,General,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA6T6CLECK9STDJ9KHKDJ7Q0ADI
- Story Text: Iraqi troops have pinned down U.S. and British forces in several places but the invaders said they would not be deflected from driving on to Baghdad.
Washington said on Sunday (March 23) some U.S. soldiers and an aircraft were believed missing, after Baghdad said it had downed five planes and two helicopters and would show prisoners on television.
President Saddam Hussein's capital suffered a fourth day of bombardment, with some of the biggest blasts to date, as planes pounded a single target in the west.
Correspondents with U.S. and British units reported persistent clashes - near Umm Qasr, on Iraq's narrow south coast, Basra, the second city nearby, the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf and Nassiriya where the Euphrates river has been crossed.
Iraq said the human toll was already significant, with 77 civilians killed in Basra, mostly victims of cluster bombs, and air raids killing four in Tikrit, Saddam's home town.
But in briefings, U.S. and British spokesmen oozed confidence, saying the campaign was going faster than planned.
One British defence source even predicted the battle of Baghdad could begin in as little as 36 hours.
The United States said some 1,600 British and U.S.
aircraft had flown nearly 6,000 sorties since the war began four days ago, hitting military and leadership targets and sites with suspected weapons of mass destruction.
GULF WAR 3
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