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US Attack on Iraq

Thursday March 27, 2003--Muharram 23, 1424 A.H.




Bush, Blair promise to persevere in war in Iraq
(Updated at 2120 PST)
THURMONT, Maryland: President George W. Bush, meeting with top war ally British Prime Minister Tony Blair, said Thursday that coalition forces were "advancing day by day'' through Iraq. He and Blair demanded that the United Nations' "oil-for-food'' program be immediately restored.

Blair, standing alongside Bush at the president's Camp David mountaintop retreat, declared that "Saddam Hussein and his hateful regime will be removed from power.''

Bush calls for immediate oil-for-food resumption
(Updated at 2115 PST) 
CAMP DAVID, Maryland: US President George W. Bush on Thursday urged the United Nations to immediately resume its oil-for-food program to help ease the humanitarian situation in war-torn Iraq, sources reported.

Bush touts "steady progress" in Iraq
(Updated at 2110 PST)
CAMP DAVID, Maryland: US President George W. Bush said Thursday that US-led forces in Iraq "are advancing day by day, in steady progress against the enemy."

"Slowly but surely" Saddam Hussein's "grip" on his country is being broken, 
Bush said during a joint press conference here with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, his staunchest ally in the confrontation with Iraq.

UN arms inspectors willing to go Iraq: Belix
(Updated at 2000 PST)
WASHINGTON: United Nations chief arms inspector Hans Belix Thursday said the UN arms inspectors are willing to go to Iraq.

Speaking in the UN Security Council session he said the mendate for arms inspection was intact. Everyone was satisfied that no prohibited weapons were used in the war in Iraq, he said.

Prolongation of war will affect relations with USA: Saudi FM
(Updated at 1940 PST)
BEIRUT: Prolongation of the war in Iraq could affect the Saudi Arab, USA bilateral relations, said the the Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud-ul-Faisal in an Interview to a Lebanese TV channel. 

The Saudi FM's interview was published in the time when there is stronger possibility of prolongation of the war in Iraq.


Ant-war rally in New York

(Updated at 1920 PST)

NEW YORK: An antiwar rally was held in New York Thursday as large number of people took to the roads, said a press report.

The participants demanded immediate end of the war in Iraq. They also criticized biased media coverage of the war.


Britain alleges Iraq contemplated chemical attack
(Updated at 1830 PST)
LONDON : British defense officials said Thursday that the discovery of chemical protection suits suggest Iraq was prepared to use weapons of mass destruction against advancing coalition forces, said a press report.

Soldiers of the Royal Irish Regiment found about a hundred chemical weapons protection suits and respirators in an Iraqi command post, said Adm. Michael Boyce, chief of the defense staff.

Now we have to ask ourselves why Iraqi commanders thought that infantry in this part of Iraq should be issued with weapons of mass
destruction equipment and protection, Boyce said.


Three loud blasts in Baghdad, oil wells under fire
(Updated at 1810 PST)
BAGHDAD: Three loud blasts rock Baghdad Thursday evening, said a press report. Many oil wells were burning in southern Iraq, said the sources.

Allied forces making progress in Najaf: US briefing
(Updated at 1800 PST)
DOHA, Qatar: Brigadier General Vincent Brooks of the US Centrall Command said Thursday the allied forces progress in Najaf was continuing and the Iraqi attack on the Vth US infantry was repulsed, said a press report.

Another attack in Al-Nasriyya on the allied forces was also repulsed after a 90 minute engagement, he told in a media briefing.

The coalition forces are working for removing the underwater mines found in the Umm Qasar port channel.


No financial assistance needed to Iraq: embassy
(Updated at 1735 PST)
ISLAMABAD: Iraqi embassy in Pakistan in a statement said it had not authorized any person or organization for raising funds for Iraq, said a press report.

The embassy thanked the people of the Pakistan for their sentiments and support for the people of Iraq saying the Iraq has not needed any financial assistance.

Fierce fighting in Samawa, Iraq
(Updated at 1620 PST)
BAGHDAD: Iraqi and coalition forces were engaged in intense fighting in Samawa, some 125 kilometers in the south of Baghdad, said a press report.


Chemical suits, masks not proof of weapons: Blix
(Updated at 1610 PST)
LONDON: The United Nations' chief arms inspector Hans Blix said Thursday presence of 300 chemical suits and masks could not prove that Iraq holding chemical weapons, said a press report.

He said the fact has increased suspicions but Iraq could have arranged suits to meet any chemical attack threat. 

Iraq could start oil export within three months
(Updated at 1540 PST)
MANAMA: Iraq under the coalition could export oil within three months, said the British military commander in the Gulf Air Marshal  Brian Borge to the newsmen here on Thursday.

The coalition forces have occupied the oil wells in the southern Iraq, the oil production could be started at anytime, he told. 

Australia bans northern Iraq's Islamist group 
(Updated at 1530 PST)
CANBERRA: Australia has banned the Kurd Islamist group Ansar-ul-Islam operating in the northern Iraq against the coalition forces, said a press report. 

A government spokesman alleging the group's involvement in the terrorist activities in the Kurd region of Iraq announced the ban.

Japan, Swiss governments refuse to close Iraqi embassies
(Updated at 1520 PST)
TOKYO: Japan and Switzerland rejected the US demand for closure of Iraqi embassies saying they will not close Iraqi embassies, said a press report Thursday.

In separate statements both the governments said they notfeel the need for closure of the Iraqi embassies.


Explosions heard as air raid sirens sound in Kuwait
(Updated at 1430 PST)
KUWAIT CITY: Two loud explosions were heard in Kuwait on 
Thursday after air raid sirens sounded, said a press report.

The US-led coalition forces have reached near Baghdad, a British TV channel reported. About 500 Iraqi families left Amman for Iraq to fight the coalition forces, a US TV channel reported.


Iraq says 350 killed, 4,000 injured in war
(Updated at 1420 PST)
BAGHDAD: Iraq's Health Minister Umid Medhat Mubarak said Thursday that 350 people were killed and about 4,000 injured since the beginning of the US-led military attack on Iraq one week ago, a foreign news agency reported.

Welcoming any relief offer from the relief agencies, he however said there was no need of it as Iraq have already sufficient medical facilities and stock of medicines.

He further said the drinking water in Basra was polluted and became hazardous for the human consumption. The allied forces targeting the civilian population as Cluster bombs were rained in Basra, he told the media. 

Iraq's Health Minister further said that 36 people were killed in the previous day's US and British air strikes on Baghdad.


Two Nobel laureates arrested in Washington antiwar rally
(Updated at 1350 PST)
WASHINGTON: Police in Washington arrested two Nobel laureates along with others in an anti war rally, said a press report.

Two Nobel laureates Reed Corrigen and Judy Williams were arrested along with two padre's while they tried crossing a police hurdle during the rally against Iraq war


Russia demands immediate ceasefire in Iraq

(Updated at 1310 PST)

MOSCOW: Russia has demanded stopping the US-led war on Iraq after a missile attack on civilian population in Baghdad killing 15 people, said a press report. 


The Russian Foreign Ministry in an official statement demanded immediate ceasefire and peaceful settlement of the issue under the United Nations Security Council.


The war is badly affecting the civilian population and infrastructure of Iraq, said the Ministry. 


Anti-war strike in Held Kashmir
(Updated at 1300 PST)
SRINAGAR, Held Kashmir: A strike called by a Mujahideen group to denounce the US-led attack on Iraq Thursday closed down most shops and businesses in Srinagar, a press report said.

The strike, called by Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen, closed down the main commercial hub of Lal Chowk and educational institutions. Attendance in offices was also thin.


Fresh blasts, anti aircraft guns firing in Baghdad
(Updated at 1150 PST)
BAGHDAD: The Republican Guards had stopped US marines' progress in Al-Shartiya and were advancing towards the coalition forces positions, said a media report Thursday.

Baghdad was rocking with loud blasts and anti-aircraft guns' firing. A senior US official has alleged Iraq was killing the prisoners of war.


Dozens of US marines injured in 'friendly fire'
(Updated at 1130 PST)
NEAR NASIRIYAH, Iraq: Dozens of US marines were injured when their forces fired on one another in a 'friendly fire' clash around the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah, a western correspondent with the troops reported Thursday.


Powell unfolds plan for future government in Iraq

(Updated at 0855 PST)

LONDON: The US State Secretary Colin Powell unfolded the future government plan before the Congress saaying the plan will also got approved from the United Nations, a British news channel reported Thursday.


The Powell plan suggests a US military government headed by General Tommy Franks after the war, which will be transformed into a US civilian government. The other steps under the plan would be an interim Iraqi setup, which will lead to a regular Iraqi civilian government that will initially work with a UN caretaker.


Allied forces on move to west Iraq
(Updated at 0625 PST)
ISLAMABAD: A large one thousand vehicle caravan of the Iraqi Republican guards have set on their way to proceed to the west of Iraq, said reports Thursday. 

Intensive ground war is being fought 160 Kms from here in Najaf city, that has resulted in so far killing of 500 Iraqis.

Critically injured US soldiers shifted to Spain for medical treatment
(Updated at 0615 PST)
WASHINGTON: Critically injured US soldiers have been shifted to Spain for medical treatment by a special flight, said sources Thursday.

They fell injured during a yesterday's battle with Iraqi forces. However, for those soldiers slightly injured, mini hospitals have been set up in the coalition forces war ships. 

Powel rejects rumors of his resignations: Report
(Updated at 0605 PST)
WASHINGTON: Rejecting baseless rumors of resignations, the US State Secretary Collin Powell said he is he continued working on his position and have still better relations with US President George W. Bush, sources quoted his as saying.

Huge blasts heard in Baghdad, more than eight blasts reported
(Updated at 0515 PST)
DOHA: Baghdad came under bombardment again Thursday overnight as several loud explosions were heard, said an Arab TV channel.

More than eight explosions were heard as warplanes flew overhead, the tv added.

The blasts appeared to emanate from the outskirts of Baghdad and it was not immediately clear what were the targets of the new raids.
US and British forces carried out a number of air strikes on Baghdad 
overnight and in the day, one of which Iraqi officials said killed 14 


Iraq TV transmission disrupted; 3000 US land troops set for Gulf
(Updated at 0425 PST)
BAGHDAD: Iraq TV transmission has been disrupted as 3,000 US special land troops set for Gulf, a report said.

Post-war reconstruction expenses of Iraq should be afforded by  US: Germany
(Updated at 0425 PST)  
BAGHDAD: Germany said Thursday that the post-war reconstruction expenses of Iraq should be afforded by the US, a report said.

American forces occupy three bridges on Euphrates River 
(Updated at 0425 PST)

BAGHDAD: American coalition forces occupied three bridges on the Euphrates River and entered Najaf, a report said. 

Attack on Iraq is violation of international law: Iraq
(Updated at 0425 PST)  
BAGHDAD: Iraqi ambassador to the UN Mohammed Al-Douri said on Thursday that the attack on Iraq is the sheer violation of international law, a report said.


Both sides in Iraq war may be guilty of war crimes: Amnesty

(Updated at 0425 PST)

LONDON: Both sides of the week-old-war Iraq war may already be guilty of war crimes, Amnesty International human rights group said Wednesday.


The US-led coalition side would be guilty because of the bombing of state television in Baghdad, Claudio Cordone, senior director for international law at the London-based group, said in a statement.


"Attacking a civilian object and carrying out a disproportionate attack are

war crimes," she said.    "The onus is on the coalition forces to demonstrate the military use of the TV station and, if that is indeed the case, to show that the attack took into account the risk to civilian lives," Cordone said.


"The bombing of a television station simply because it is being used for

the purposes of propaganda is unacceptable. It is a civilian object, and thus

protected under international humanitarian law," she said. The Iraqi side would be guilty if its troops are found to have fired mortars on their own people to quell an uprising in Basra, as British officials alleged yesterday.



US forces parachute into northern Iraq

(Updated at 0400 PST)

WASHINGTON: Elements of the US Army's 173rd Brigade

parachuted into northern Iraq, at an airfield in the first major deployment of forces in that part of Iraq, US defense official said Wednesday


600 cruise missiles fired, 290,000 troops deployed in Iraq: US

(Updated at 0350 PST)        

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon said Wednesday that US troops had fired 600 Tomahawk cruise missiles and more than 4,300 precision-guided bombs in the first six days of the US-led war on Iraq.


Outlining some figures, the Pentagon said more than 250,000 US troops had been deployed in support of operations, as well as 40,000 mainly British and Australian coalition troops.   "Our ground forces are pushing north towards Baghdad and Al Kut," Major General Stanley McChrystal Joint Staff vice-director of operations said Wednesday.


"We are more than 220 miles (355 kilometers) into Iraqi territory and have

done it in over six days in spite of difficult weather," said McChrystal. "Since March 20, our forces have fired more than 600 Tomahawks and dropped more than 4,300 precision-guided weapons," he told reporters.


US troops kill 1,000 in 72 hours near Najaf: commander
(Updated at 0350 PST)

NEAR NAJAF: US troops have killed 1,000 Iraqis in the past 72 hours in the Najaf region, an American officer said Wednesday.


Coalition forces attack massive Iraqi column leaving Basra

(Updated at 0350 PST)

BASRA, Iraq: US-led coalition forces on Wednesday attacked

a massive column of Iraqi tanks that poured out of the southern Iraqi city of Basra, a reporter with the British army said.


Annan urges Security Council to unite around humanitarian aid for Iraq

(Updated at 0200 PST)

UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan urged the Security Council on Wednesday to put aside its differences over reactivating the oil-for-food programme in Iraq as a channel for war relief.


"I urge the five permanent members, in particular, to show leadership by

making a concerted effort to overcome their differences," Annan said at the start of a two-day public council debate.


The meeting was the council's first on Iraq since the United States and

Britain invaded last week after giving up their efforts to seek UN authority

for military action. "All of us must regret that our intense efforts to achieve a peaceful situation through this council did not succeed," Annan said.


Many people were asking why Iraq did not take a final opportunity to disarm

peacefully, he said. "At the same time, many people around the world are seriously questioning whether it was legitimate for some member states to proceed to such a fateful action now ... without first reaching a collective decision of this council,"

he said.

The invasion "has far-reaching consequences, well beyond the immediate

military dimensions," he said.


Security Council begins open meeting on Iraq
(Updated at 0140 PST)  

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council began a two-day public debate Wednesday which was expected to produce denunciations of the US-led war on Iraq but no practical decision to halt it. 

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was the first of 63 speakers scheduled to take the floor. Council rules allow other speakers to add their names to the list after a meeting begins. 

The debate was called at the request of the non-aligned nations movement and the group of Arab states at the United Nations, which by chance is chaired by Iraq this month. In a letter Monday, Iraqi ambassador Mohammed Al-Douri asked for an urgent meeting "with regard to halting the American-British aggression and the immediate withdrawal of the invading forces." 

But no draft resolution has been tabled and the council was not expected even to issue a statement, let alone take any decision, on the war, since the United States and Britain both have the power as permanent members to veto it.

Three Americans killed as spy plane crashes in Colombia

(Updated at 0130 PST)

BOGOTA: Three US nationals died when the US government Cessna they were using to search for three kidnapped Americans crashed in southern Colombia, an official said.

Huge explosions as Baghdad comes under more bombardment
(Updated at 0130 PST)
BAGHDAD: More huge explosions rocked Baghdad around 11:00 pm (2000 GMT) on Wednesday, a foreign agency reported.


France would help with chemical attack, but would not fight: Villepin

(Updated at 0050 PST)

PARIS: France would provide assistance to US-led forces in the Gulf region if Iraq used chemical weapons against them, but would not get involved in the fighting, Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said on



Lawmakers mull aid to airlines in war budget

(Updated at 0050 PST)

WASHINGTON: US lawmakers were scrambling Wednesday to find a way to aid struggling US airlines that are facing a deepening crisis as a result of the war in Iraq.


Airline industry leaders as well as employee groups are pleading for urgent

help from Congress to avert what they say will be an industry catastrophe if the war persists and travel suffers more declines.


Bill Frist, the Senate's majority leader said Tuesday that the chamber

would consider financial assistance to ailing US air carriers. The Senate "will provide financial assistance to some extent," Frist said.


Frist's comments echoed those of Republican Senator John McCain. According to Frist, public funds could be added to a 74.7 billion dollar package requested by President George W. Bush to finance military operations in Iraq, as well as homeland security and other costs linked to the war on terrorism. 

Iraq says elite Guard in action for first time

(Updated at 0030 PST)   

BAGHDAD: Iraq said that its elite Republican Guard forces had battled US-led troops for the first time Wednesday since the war began, and that they had inflicted "heavy losses" on the coalition.

US acknowledges possible civilian deaths in bombing
(Updated at 0025 PST)

AS SALIYAH: The United States acknowledged it might have killed some civilians with air strikes Wednesday after 14 people were reported dead in missile attacks on a Baghdad housing block.


Aid experts to discuss situation in Iraq next Wednesday: Swiss official
(Updated at 0020 PST)

GENEVA: Representatives from 30 countries and 21 aid agencies are expected to discuss humanitarian aid for Iraq in a meeting in Geneva next week, the Swiss foreign ministry said Wednesday.


The participants, mostly technical experts, will decide on the most urgent needs for the war-torn country and examine how they can be delivered, said Joachim Ahrens, spokesman for the ministry's development cooperation department.  Iraq's reconstruction could also be discussed, he said.


US, EU agree on need for humanitarian funds in Iraq
(Updated at 0020 PST)

BRUSSELS: US and EU representatives agreed Wednesday on the pressing need for funds to head off a humanitarian disaster in war-embroiled Iraq, officials said.


Alan Larson, the US undersecretary of state for economic, business and agricultural affairs, found common ground with European Commission officials in tackling the most urgent needs of Iraqi civilians, sources said.


But looking ahead, the question of who will foot the bill to rebuild a post-war Iraq will prove more controversial in a Europe where many are bitterly opposed to the US-British campaign to oust Saddam Hussein.  


Process to free Iraqis from ceasefire line would be late: Powell
(Updated at 0050 PST)  
WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Wednesday that the process of freeing Iraqi people from ceasefire line would be late. He said that Saddam Hussein government in Iraq would soon come to an end.


Russia calls for end to hostilities after Baghdad attack

(Updated at 0005 PST)        

MOSCOW: Russia called for an immediate end to hostilities

in Iraq Wednesday after a missile attack by US-led forces on a residential area in Baghdad left 14 people dead and around 30 people injured.


Russian FM warns US against unleashing "information war"

(Updated at 2330 PST)

MOSCOW: Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov on Wednesday sternly warned the United States away from unleashing an “information war'' against Russia and poured scorn on the war in Iraq.


While talking to journalists, he said that US reasons for war on Iraq were illogical. In an appearance before the Federation Council, Russia's upper house of parliament, Ivanov reiterated Moscow's firm intention to block any attempts to legitimize the war through the United Nations Security Council. He also called on Washington to prevent U.S.-Russian relations from deteriorating in the long-term