THE WAR HAS BEGUN
Civilian Casualty Update
US Cobra attack helicopters bombard the southern Iraqi port of Umm-Qasr.
Human face of war: 4-year-old Yasser Ahmed Daud was injured by shrapnel from an American bomb in September last year. He lost the tops of four of his fingers and suffered injuries to his stomach when an oil tanker across the road from his house was hit, killing 12 people
LATEST About 30 Iraqi troops, including a general, surrendered today to US forces of the 3rd Infantry Division as they overtook huge installation apparently used to produce chemical weapons in An Najaf, some 250 kilometers south of Baghdad. One soldier was lightly wounded when a booby-trapped explosive went off as he was clearing the sheet metal-lined facility, which resembles the eery images of scientific facilities in World War II concentration camps. The huge 100-acre complex, which is surrounded by a electrical fence, is perhaps the first illegal chemical plant to be uncovered by US troops in their current mission in Iraq. The surrounding barracks resemble an abandoned slum.
Burned-out vehicles and incinerated bodies littered a plain in central Iraq on Sunday after U.S. forces overwhelmed Iraqi militia fighters in a battle south of the holy city of Najaf. U.S. armored infantry and tanks took control of the plain in the early hours of Sunday after a battle of more than seven hours against Iraqi forces who were armed with machineguns mounted on the back of Japanese pick-up trucks.
Iraq used ambushes and even fake surrenders to kill and capture US troops, inflicting the first significant casualties on the allied forces driving toward Baghdad.
Two US cruise missiles misfired Sunday on Turkish territory, without causing any reported victims, the Pentagon said late Sunday."Two Tomahawk cruise missiles misfired, landing on an unpopulated area in Turkey. There are no reported casualties," Pentagon spokesman Major James Cassella said, citing the US Central Command
Two British soldiers are missing in southern Iraq after their vehicles were attacked, the British Ministry of Defense said Monday.News of the missing soldiers comes as 12 U.S. solders were captured by the Iraqis.
The United States believes Russian technicians are helping Iraq jam crucial satellite signals needed to guide bombs and military aircraft as US, British and Australian troops advance on Baghdad, a senior US official said.The official says Washington has evidence personnel from a Russian firm are in Iraq attempting to help set up and operate a sophisticated system that interferes with the US global positioning technology.
An Iraqi commander near the southern city of Basra said Sunday that his division, which Washington earlier said had surrendered, would continue to resist US and British forces."I am with my men in Basra, we continue to defend the people and riches" of the town, Colonel Khaled al-Hashemi, commander of the 51st Mechanized Division, told the satellite television channel Al-Jazeera. The Pentagon announced Friday his troops had surrendered to coalition forces, the first division-sized unit to do so since the start of a US-led ground offensive. Baghdad immediately denied the claim.Hashemi accused Washington of lying, saying it was part of the "psychological warfare" being put out by "enemy forces".
The Red Cross is warning of a humanitarian emergency in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.A spokesman for the Red Cross says water and electricity supplies have been cut for the past 48 hours.He says engineers need to reach a major pumping station under the control of coalition forces.
Iraqi television has shown at least four bodies, said to be US soldiers, and five prisoners who said they were American.Two of the prisoners, including a woman, appeared to be wounded. One was lying on the floor on a rug.They are the first US prisoners known to have been taken by Iraq.The prisoners were questioned on air and gave their names, military identification numbers and home towns.The bodies and prisoners were shown on Iraqi television and relayed by Arab station Al-Jazeera.
Images of killed American soldier and prisoners of war shown on Al-jeera TV
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Sunday Iraqi television footage apparently showing American prisoners of war was a violation of the Geneva Convention.On CBS "Face the Nation," Rumsfeld was shown footage relayed by the Arabic satellite station Al-Jazeera that Iraq television claimed were captive U.S. soldiers.
The Arab satellite channel al-Jazeera has justified broadcasting pictures of what it says are American dead and prisoners of war by stating: "We did what our professional duty calls upon us to do. We aired news." US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said today it would be "unfortunate" if other television networks carried the same pictures and American television networks indicated they were treating the al-Jazeera footage, shot by Iraqi television, with caution, with some opting to show only a still image of the dead soldiers or only limited excerpts of the questioning of POWs. CNN initially said it had decided not to air footage of the dead soldiers in the United States and would show only a single frame which did not allow identification. But later today it ran brief video of one of the captured soldiers being questioned by the Iraqis, saying it had confirmed the relatives of the man had been notified of his capture. "We make this decision because reporting on the captives' treatment is an important part of the coverage of the war in Iraq," a CNN statement said.
Iraq's Defence Minister said it will respect the Geneva Convention and not harm US prisoners of war."Iraq will not harm the captured prisoners of war," Defence Minister Sultan Hashim Ahmed told a news conference."It will treat them in accordance with the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war." He said the bodies of US soldiers were lying abandoned on a battlefield near the central Iraq city of Nasiriyah and said Iraq had destroyed 10 tanks and 20 armoured personnel carriers in fighting across southern Iraq.
A senior military official said 11 soldiers, maintenance workers, had taken a wrong turn outside Nasiriyia on a mission to carry out repair work.The official also said at least 50 Marines in Nasiriya were wounded when their vehicle was apparently hit by Iraqi artillery.ABCNEWS' John Berman said a battalion of some 1,000 Marines was engaged in an intense firefight in Nasiriya, and helicopters had been called in to evacuate wounded allied soldiers from the battle zone.
There are reports one or two US or British airmen have been captured after ejecting over Baghdad and landing in the Tigris River.Sky News and Reuters have shown a search along the shores of the Tigris River in which machine guns were fired in the water, reeds were set alight and boats took to the water.
Reporters on the spot were told airmen had landed by parachute in the river.
A US Patriot anti-missile has downed a British Royal Air Force Tornado jet during an operation in the Persian Gulf.British Foreign Office Minister Mike O'Brien said the plane shot down was a fighter-bomber with a crew of two.The Patriot system is designed to shoot down incoming missiles.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Sunday some American soldiers are missing in the fighting in Iraq and that there is a report of a missing allied aircraft.In an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press," Rumsfeld said he had no information about claims by Iraq that two Western pilots had been forced to abandon their aircraft over Baghdad.
Iraqi Information Minister Saeed as-Sahhaf said Sunday 77 civilians were killed and 366 others injured by US air strikes on the southern Iraqi city of Basra. The dead and the injured were victims of cluster bombs, he told a press conference in Baghdad. Meanwhile, Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan said that captured enemy soldiers would soon be shown on state television, adding that the war was going well for Iraq.
Hundreds of anti-war protesters tried to storm Australia's parliament on Monday, demanding the withrawal of Australian troops fighting in Iraq.Police managed to hold back the 400 activists who were calling on Australian Prime Minsiter John Howard to come outside and address them.
Gunmen killed 24 people early Monday in a Hindu village in India's only predominantly Muslim state early Monday, police said.The attack occurred in Nadimarg, about 30 miles south of Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu-Kashmir. The gunmen overpowered village guards and grabbed their weapons, police said. Two children and 11 women were among those killed, said A.K. Suri, the state's police chief. The others were men.
Afghanistan on Sunday, killing all six military personnel on board, U.S. Central Command said."The crash was not the result of enemy action," Central Command said in a statement. The helicopter was conducting a "medical evacuation mission," it said. The HH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed 18 miles north of Ghazni, Afghanistan, at about 11:20 a.m. EST, Central Command said. The cause was under investigation.
Al Qaeda leaders, long known to covet biological and chemical weapons, have reached at least the threshold of production and may already have manufactured some of them, according to a newly obtained cache of documentary evidence and interrogations recently conducted by the U.S. government
The United States has advised Americans in Indonesia to consider leaving the country. The state department said there was credible information of possible attacks against Americans, following the start of the war in Iraq.
Protest in Sydney
Monday, March 24, 2003