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 Saturday, March 29, 2003



Civilian Casualty Update

LATEST Five US soldiers died Saturday morning when the driver of a taxi detonated a bomb at a roadblock north of the Iraqi city of Najaf, US Captain Andrew Valles said.A taxicab drove up to the checkpoint and the driver waved his hand "indicating he needed some help," Valles said.

The heavy bombardment came as an Iraqi missile hit Kuwait City for the first time, landing just offshore but causing serious damage to the country's largest shopping center. Two people were slightly hurt.

A missile struck a market in western Baghdad on Friday afternoon, killing more than 50 people - most of them children - and wounding dozens of others in the Iraqi capital, television reports said.The Qatar-based station Al-Jazeera said 55 people were killed, many of them children. Al Arabiya television put the toll at 52, and said the market was located in a residential area.Issa Ali Ilwan, a surgeon at nearby Al-Nour Hospital, said at least 47 were killed and at least 50 injured

U.S. commanders have ordered a pause of four to six days in a northward push toward Baghdad because of supply shortages and stiff Iraqi resistance, U.S. military officers said on Saturday. They said the "operational pause," ordered on Friday, meant that advances would be put on hold while the military tried to sort out logistics problems caused by long supply lines from neighboring Kuwait.

Russian intelligence agents are holding daily meetings with Iraqi officials in Baghdad, and may be interested in gaining control of Iraqi secret service archives if Saddam Hussein's regime falls, the newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported Friday.The newspaper said the archives could be highly valuable to Russia in three major areas: in protecting Russian interests that remain in a postwar Iraq; in determining to what extent the Saddam regime may have financed Russian political parties and movements; and in providing Russia access to intelligence that Iraqi agents conducted in other countries.

Syria denies charges by the Bush administration that it is helping Iraq with military supplies.US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has accused Syria of committing what he called a "hostile act" by supplying military aid, including night vision goggles, to Iraq.

British defence officials say that no British troops had been reported missing overnight despite reports that up to five had been captured in Basra.A news report quoting a British officer in the area said four to five soldiers had been kidnapped.

Villagers in southeastern Turkey on Saturday threw eggs and stones at a team of US experts as they arrived in the region to collect a US missile accidentally misfired on Turkey, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said Friday he will leave his job at the end of June, with disappointment that his teams weren't given a few more months to try to disarm Iraq peacefully.

The United Nations Security Council has voted unanimously to approve tapping billions of dollars in Iraqi oil revenues to purchase food and medicine in a bid to avert a humanitarian crisis in the war. UN secretary-general Kofi Annan suspended the program and evacuated more than 300 relief workers who monitor the distribution of supplies shortly before US and British forces arrived in Iraq.

An estimated 30,000 people have marched through Melbourne to protest against the war in Iraq.The crowd, including children, parents and representatives from political and religious communities, marched from the State Library through the city and up to Treasury Place.An American flag was burnt at the steps of the treasury building before live music and speeches were heard by the crowd

Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace ignited the ire of the White House by observing publicly that Pentagon war strategists had misunderstood the combativeness of Iraqi fighters. The miscalculation, he said, had stalled the coalition's drive toward Baghdad.
"The enemy we're fighting against is different from the one we'd war-gamed against," Wallace, commander of V Corps, told The New York Times and The Washington Post on Thursday.

American police have arrested a group of 75 monks, priests, rabbis and other clergy at an anti-war protest in San Fransisco.A dozen other protesters linked with plastic piping were arrested near the White House in Washington DC. The arrests were the latest of several thousand detentions nationwide since the war began.



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