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 Tuesday, April 01, 2003



U.S. forces pounded Republican Guard units around Baghdad from the ground and the air on Monday, but also killed seven Iraqi women and children in an incident certain to fuel anti-American sentiment in the Arab world and elsewhere. The U.S. Central Command acknowledged firing on a vehicle near the central city of Najaf after its driver ignored orders to stop and a warning shot. "As a last resort the soldiers fired into the passenger compartment of the vehicle. Inside the vehicle they found 13 women and children. Seven of the occupants were dead. Two were wounded. Four were unharmed," a spokesman said .

Award-winning news correspondent Peter Arnett, sacked by American TV network NBC after suggesting on Iraqi television that the US war plan had failed, has joined the Daily Mirror -- the British newspaper most opposed to the conflict."Fired by America for telling the truth... Hired by Daily Mirror to carry on telling it," read the headline on the tabloid's front page Tuesday

US-led forces battered Baghdad with around a dozen missiles Monday night, hammering away at the Iraqi capital as residents nearby reported 20 more civilians dead, 11 of them children, from the ongoing blitz.

U.S. troops engaged Iraqi Republican Guard units outside the capital in what was described as the first "serious" encounter with the outer ring of Iraqi soldiers protecting the city.Throughout the Tigris and Euphrates valley, U.S. troops clashed with Iraqi forces near the landmarks of ancient Mesopotamia. Battles were reported near Babylon and in small towns not previously cited in reports from the front lines: Shatra, Imam Aiyub and Hindiya.


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LATEST North Korea test fired another anti-ship missile on Tuesday, a Japan Defense Agency spokesman said."A missile was launched today at around 10:15 am (0115 GMT)," the spokesman said. "But we don't know any more details."

The US-led war against Iraq could prompt thousands of Islamic extremists still on the loose in Afghanistan to take up arms, Tajik analysts have warned. Moreover "if the anti-terrorist coalition loses control of the situation in Afghanistan, this will impact on Central Asian security," analyst Sukhrob Sharipov told AFP. "Pan-Islamic moods are prevailing, and Afghanistan's radical fanatics who are currently hidden away like ants will regroup," with Washington's attention riveted on Iraq, he added.

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