Home | Return

US Attack on Iraq
Friday March 28, 2003--Muharram 24, 1424 A.H





Mammoth anti-war rallies in Iran, Egypt cities
(Updated at 1840 PST)
TEHRAN: Thousands of people attended a huge antiwar rally in Tehran, first after the Iraq war, said a press report.

Demonstrators burnt the US flag and effigies of the US President George Bush.

Big anti-war rallies were also organized in various cities of Egypt. Participants were chanting slogans against the war and demanding immediate ceasefire in Iraq.


US alleges Syria supplying military equipment to Iraq
(Updated at 1810 PST)
WASHINGTON: The senior US defence officials Friday alleged Syria for providing military equipments to Iraq including the equipments for seeing in the dark, said a press report. 

Earlier the US authorities had alleged Russia for supply of sophisticated electronic equipments to Iraq.

Ship with humanitarian cargo docks in Umm Qasr
(Updated at 1750 PST)
UMM QASR, Iraq:The British ship RFA Sir Galahad with humanitarian consignment reached the captured port of Iraq Umm Qasr on Friday, said a press report.

The 200 tons humanitarian cargo included blankets, food and fresh water. The ship was delayed for 24 hours due to mines in the port channel.


Dethronement of Saddam not an easy task: Blair
(Updated at 1740 PST)
BAGHDAD: British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a radio interview on Friday said dethroning Saddam is not an easy task.

He is ruling Iraq for more than 20 years weakening his grip over power will take time, he said.

Post-Saddam Iraq setup difficult task: Major
(Updated at 1730 PST)
LONDON: British former Prime Minister John Major expressing disbelief about the success of the US democratic setup plan in the post-Saddam Iraq said making of a Sunni, Shia and Kurd coalition government will prove extremely difficult.

In an interview he said a Shia-led government in Iraq will destabilize the Central Asia.

Baghdad will prove allied forces' graveyard : Iraqi Minister
(Updated at 1720 PST)
BAGHDAD: Iraqi defence minister Sultan Hashim Ahmed Friday said the enemy should come to Baghdad as it will become their graveyard, said a press report.

Talking with the newsmen he said fighting in Baghdad streets has become desity of the coalition forces.

Coalition helicopters pound Iraqi troops in Nasriyya
(Updated at 1700 PST)
NASRIYYA, Iraq: The coalition forces cobra helicopters attacked the Iraqi troops in Nasriyya, a US TV network reported on Friday.

The fourth infantry of the US army was in state of preparedness in Texas for heading to Iraq, another report said.


China to send humanitarian aid for Iraqi people

(Updated at 1645 PST) 

BEIJING: China will send humanitarian aid for people of Iraq, said a Foreign Ministry spokesman here, said a press report.


China is deeply concerned over the sudden deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Iraq. The aid would be transported to Jordan for distribution among the Iraqi people within couple of days, he said.


Iraqi imam urges holy war against invaders
(Updated at 1610 PST)

BAGHDAD: A leading Iraqi imam, holding a rifle as he led weekly prayers here Friday, called on Muslims worldwide to launch holy war against the US-led onslaught against Iraq.


Prayer day for safety of US troops

(Updated at 1530 PST)
WASHINGTON: The US senate passed a resolution to observe prayer day for safety of the US troops in Iraq, said a press report. 

In resolution the senate urged the US President for fixing the day of supplication for safety of the US people and forces from terrorists.

700 coalition troops killed in war: Iraqi ambassador

(Updated at 1500 PST)

BAGHDAD: Iraqi ambassador in Moscow Friday said about 700 US and British troops were killed in the war against Iraq, said a press report.

Talking with the newsmen he said more than five hundred allied troops were killed in the battle near Najaf, while three US spy planes were also downed.

The Pentagon had earlier told that 28 US soldiers were killed in the war.


26 dead, 60 wounded in Najaf fighting: al-Sahhaf
(Updated at 1440 PST)
BAGHDAD: United States and its allies are war criminals, we will follow and punish them, said the Iraq's Information Minister Mohammed Said al-Sahhaf in a press conference on Friday.

US and British bombing on the central Iraqi town of Najaf killed 26 people and wounded 60, he told.

Sahhaf also said that Fedayeen militiamen and fighters of Iraq's ruling Baath Party repelled a coalition attack in Najaf region. Fierce clashes pitted the coalition against Iraq's elite Presidential Guard around Najaf, a Shiite Muslim holy town.

Iraq also denied reports from US commanders that it lost around 1,000 men in the fighting.


Basra still in Saddam's control: British TV
(Updated at 1420 PST)
LONDON: Basra is still in Saddam Hussain's control, a British TV channel reported on Friday.

The decisive battle for Basra yet to start as the Iraqi troops in the city were not prepared to surrender despite coalition forces siege of Basra. Various paramilitary contingents are fighting in various localities of the city and the difficult phase of the house to house fighting was still ahead.

Coalition drops heaviest bombs on Baghdad
(Updated at 1400 PST)
BAGHDAD: The coalition bombers dropped two five thousand pounds heavy bombs used as bunker busters, the heaviest coalition forces dropped till now, said a press report.

The US forces had took positions for attack on Baghdad, said another report.


Pakistan will send relief consignment for Iraq soon: Jamali
(Updated at 1350 PST)
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Jamali said Friday the consignment of humanitarian aid for Iraqi people will be send soon, a press report said.

Talking with hte newsmen he regretted killings of Iraqi people and hoped for earlier end of the war.


Republican Guards deployed to Karbala's defence
(Updated at 1210 PST)
BAGHDAD: Iraq has deployed six thousand Republican Guards for defence of Karbala, said a press report Friday.

Turkey and USA were agreed for entrance of the Turk army in the northern Iraq, Turkey based sources told an Arabian TV channel.


Anti-war strike closes down H- Kashmir for second day
(Updated at 1200 PST)
SRINAGAR, Held Kashmir: A strike to protest against the US-led attack on Iraq closed down held Kashmir areas for the second day on Friday, sources said.

The two-day strike called by Jamiat-ul-Mujahedin, shut most shops and businesses in Srinagar, including those in the main commercial hubs of Lal Chowk and Batamaloo.

The strike also closed down educational institutions, while government and semi-government departments were also affected. Police contingents were deployed around Kashmir's main mosque, the Jamia Masjid and other mosques in Srinagar.

Iraqi Kurds make major advance towards Kirkuk

(Updated at 1120 PST)
BANMAQAN, Iraq: Iraqi Kurd rebels have advanced to within just 20 kilometers (12 miles) east of the northern oil capital Kirkuk after Iraqi government forces abandoned their positions, Kurdish military sources claimed on Friday.


Baghdad rocked by more blasts Friday morning
Updated at 1000 PST)
BAGHDAD: The Iraqi capital was rocked by fresh explosions, which shook the hotel housing the international press corps, Friday at around 
7:00 am (0400 GMT), a news agency correspondent reported.


Rocket carrying Japan's first spy satellite launched
(Updated at 0800 PST)

TOKYO: A Japanese H-2A rocket carrying the nation's first spy satellites lifted off on Friday, an official said.


Tomahawk missiles fired on Baghdad
(Updated at 0750 PST)

BAGHDAD: Around 10 Tomahawk missiles were fired on Baghdad overnight Friday from US destroyers in the Mediterranean, a spokesman for the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier said.


Command and Control system in Baghdad destroyed

(Updated at 0730 PST)

BAGHDAD: The Pentagon claimed on Friday that the coalition warplanes and missiles in an attack destroyed the command and control system in Baghdad, a British TV reported. 

German 'human shield' activists expelled from Iraq
(Updated at 0730 PST)

TUEBINGEN, Germany: Four German anti-war activists who had been acting as "human shields" to protect an oil refinery in Iraq have been expelled from that country, the group they belong to said on Thursday. 

The Tuebingen Peace Society, named for the southwestern German town which is its home, said the official reason given for the move was that the risks of them staying where they were had become too great. 

The four activists, who were on their way out of the country via Syria, had been assigned to an oil refinery in the capital Baghdad, which has been under heavy bombardment since US and British forces launched a war against Iraq on May 20.

The group said a total of some 60 "human shields" remained in Iraq. The activists seek to deter attacks on important facilities by their presence, assuming that the attacking forces will not want to risk international condemnation if they are killed. 

12 collation forces marines missing, 14 wounded
(Updated at 0730 PST)

BAGHDAD: Twelve marines of the coalition forces went missing and 14 wounded in fighting with Iraqi forces around Nasiriya, a report said.

Iraqi information minister warned the US and Britain that Iraq will be the "graveyard" of coalition forces.


Coalition forces will be attacked in cities

(Updated at 0640 PST)

NEW YORK: American Army Affairs expert Brigadier  David Grendge has said that the US forces will be attacked in the cities and added that their forces will have to eliminate Iraqi Republican Guard and other resisting elements in Baghdad.


Coalition forces will be doubled in Iraq: Pentagon

(Updated at 0640 PST)

PENTAGON: The Pentagon said on Friday that the number of coalition forces would be doubled in Iraq, a report said.  

Pentagon officials announced the United States would more than double its ranks engaged in Iraq, with 125,000 troops ready to join the 90,000 already on the ground.


US president Bush's advisor resigns
(Updated at 0640 PST)

WASHINGTON: Richard Perle, a leading advocate of the war in Iraq, has resigned as chairman of a top Pentagon advisory panel, but will remain a member, after a conflict-of-interest controversy, the Pentagon said Thursday.


The controversy involved his dealings with Global Crossing, a now bankrupt telecommunications firm that retained Perle as an intermediary to gain Pentagon approval to sell its assets in Asia.


US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in a statement he had accepted Perle's resignation as chairman of the Defense Policy Board but had asked him to stay on as a member.


In a resignation letter, Perle said he abided by the board's rules but

wanted to step down as chairman so as not to burden Rumsfeld with a controversy at a time when the country was at war.


"With our nation at war and American troops risking their lives to protect

our freedom and liberate Iraq, I am dismayed that your valuable time ... might be burdened by the controversy surrounding my presidency," the letter said.


"I have seen controversies like this before and I know that this one will

inevitably distract from the urgent challenge in which you are now engaged," Perle wrote. "I would not wish to cause even a moment's distraction from that challenge."


Baghdad cannot be taken: minister
(Updated at  0635 PST)

BAGHDAD: Iraqi Defense Minister Sultan Hashem Ahmed said Thursday that Baghdad "cannot be taken", while acknowledging that the first US units are just 140 kilometers (90 miles) from the city limits.


Iraq destroys 196 cruise missile of coalition forces
(Updated at  0630 PST)

BAGHDAD: Iraqi Information Minister said on Friday that they had destroyed 196 cruise missile of US-led coalition forces in series of recent attacks in outskirts of Baghdad, a report said.


Two suspects linked to murder of Serbian PM killed
(Updated at  0625 PST)
NEW YORK: Two suspects linked to the murder of the Serbian Prime Minister were shot dead by police, a report said. 

Police alleged they were shot dead for offering resistance to their arrest and opening fire.

FBI seeks Pakistani pair over possible al-Qaeda link
(Updated at 0610 PST)
WASHINGTON: US authorities hunting for a suspected Saudi al-Qaeda member from South Florida have expanded the search to include a Pakistani couple with suspected links to the man, an American newspaper reported. 

The FBI's Baltimore office said that authorities want to question Aafia Siddiqui and her husband, Mohammed Khan, 33, about possible terrorist activities. Authorities in Florida say the couple may have ties to Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, 27, a suspected al-Qaeda member who lived in suburban Miami at one time. 

The FBI said Siddiqui, 31, a resident of the Boston area, had visited Gaithersburg in late December or January. They declined to say who she was visiting or why. "We would be interested in talking to Siddiqui. She may have valuable information," said Barry Maddox, an FBI spokesman in Baltimore. Authorities said Siddiqui has a doctorate in neurological science and has studied at MIT and Brandeis University in the Boston area, as well as in Houston, Tex.  

Siddiqui listed her home as Karachi, Pakistan. The FBI's Web site lists her whereabouts as unknown but adds that the bureau believes she is in Pakistan. While at MIT, she wrote a lengthy paper on the mechanics of setting up a Muslim student organization.

State corporate records in Massachusetts show that Siddiqui and Khan are officers of the Institute of Islamic Research and Teaching Inc., which has a mailing address in Roxbury. 

The FBI in Baltimore focused on Siddiqui yesterday because of her visit to the area, saying she may be wearing either traditional Pakistani clothing or western attire, and might be traveling with her three young children. 

Authorities announced they were searching for El Shukrijumah last week after an alias he used surfaced in numerous places, including interrogations of captured al Qaeda lieutenant Khalid Sheik Mohammed. A senior law enforcement official described El Shukrijumah as a possible terrorism organizer in the style of Mohamed Atta, the suspected ringleader of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. But authorities said they were unclear about what kind of plot he may have been involved in. 

The FBI has said that El Shukrijumah may be traveling on passports from Guyana, Trinidad, Canada or Saudi Arabia and could be in Morocco. 

FBI arrests nine for transferring money illegally
(Updated at 0610 PST)
WASHINGTON: The Federal Board of Investigation and some other American Intelligence Agencies arrested Friday nine persons alleged of sending a big amount of money to different countries including Pakistan, said a report.

Although they were not found having links with any terrorist band, but it was feared that the amount they transferred could be used for terrorist activities, FBI sources were quoted as saying.  

They said over last three years around $33 million have been transferred illegally to Pakistan by a money exchange firm in America. 

Kuwait bans recruitments of Muslims in army base
(Updated at 0555 PST)
LONDON: Kuwait has published an advertisement of a special army base in which Muslims recruitment has been banned, a report said.

House rent prices in Amman rise after Iraq war
(Updated at 0520 PST)

LONDON:  The rent of houses in Amman has risen to an alarming level after Iraq war, compelling the journalists to live in small town Roshaid, a report said.

Expected welcome of US forces by Iraq oppositions turns wrong
(Updated at 0520 PST)
NEW YORK: Army analyst and retired American Army Geneal Velsy said on Friday that expected welcome of US forces by Iraq oppositions has turned wrong.  

Coalition forces face tough resistance from Iraq army near cities
(Updated at 0520 PST)
NEW YORK: American TV channel has reported that the US-led coalition forces were facing tough resistance from the Iraq forces in the fight near cities.

30 pre-dawn heavy blasts heard in Baghdad
(Updated at 0510 PST)
BAGHDAD: A series of 30 pre-dawn heavy explosions were heard in Baghdad as the First Division of Airborne advanced to Baghdad, said a report on Friday. 

The US-led allied forces were facing intense resistance by the Iraqi army as they struggled hard to advance to the city. 

Saddam shown on Arabic TV attending meeting
(Updated at 0510 PST)
BAGHDAD: An Arabic TV channel Friday shown Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein attending a high-level meeting of the senior military officials.



National Guard deployed to guard Los Angeles airport against terror


(Updated at 0500 PST)   

LOS ANGELES: Armed US military guards were deployed Thursday at Los Angeles' top potential terror target, its international airport, to ward off any possible strikes triggered by the war in Iraq.


Fully-armed National Guard troops dressed in camouflage combat gear began patrolling the airport's perimeter in a bid to boost anti-terror security at the world's third busiest airfield as war raged in the Gulf.


"The primary job of the National Guard will be to enhance the perimeter defence of the airport itself to preclude any terrorist attack on the airport, sources said.


UN Security Council reaches deal on Iraq's oil-for-food programme
(Updated at 0440 PST)

UNITED NATIONS: Security Council members have agreed on a draft resolution to reactivate the UN oil-for-food programme in Iraq which, could be put to the vote within 24 hours, Germany's ambassador to the UN said Thursday.



Two more powerful explosions hit Baghdad

(Updated at 0330 PST)
BAGHDAD: Two new powerful explosions rocked Baghdad amid repeated strikes on the Iraqi capital early Friday, media reported.

The latest blasts were heard in the city center following heavy US-British bombardments throughout the day on the capital and its southern outskirts, the site of a major Iraqi military camp.

Heavy bombardment in Baghdad, southeastern outskirts
(Updated at 0100 PST)
BAGHDAD: Baghdad and its southeastern outskirts came under heavy bombardment again late Thursday, sources in the Iraqi capital

Coalition forces likely to take ten days to surround Baghdad
(Updated at 0050 PST)
BAGHDAD: Iraqi Defence Minister Sultan Hasim Ahmed said Thursday the coalition forces would take at least five to ten days to surround Baghdad.

Talking to a press conference in Baghdad, since the allied forces were struggling hard to cross the Basra airport, they had been compelled to retreat from there.


Security Council members wrangle over UN's role in Iraq

(Updated at 0050 PST)

UNITED NATIONS: Security Council members wrangled over the UN's role in Iraq on Thursday as they wound up a two-day public debate held to allow all countries to express their views on the US-led war.


The US ambassador to the United Nations, John Negroponte, hit back at the majority of the 85 speakers who took the floor, saying: "We disagree profoundly with those who avoid the central issue." Iraq was to blame for the war because it had rejected demands, spelt out in a series of council resolutions over the past 12 years, to strip itself of its weapons of mass destruction, he said.


"The coalition action is legitimate and multilateral," he said, rejecting

the criticism that the United States and Britain had invaded Iraq without the council's authority.

While most of the 70 preceding speakers described the war as a violation of the UN Charter, condemnation by the 15 council members was in general more muted.

"Even in the midst of conflict, we must continue our collective efforts to

search for ways and means by which peace can be restored," Pakistan's

ambassador Munir Akram said.

"Obviously we will not be able to achieve this through condemnation or

recrimination, however deplorable the use of force." The French ambassador, Jean-Marc de La Sabliere, did not even call for an

end to hostilities.

"Our chief concern today is for the fate of the civilian population in Iraq. That is why we hope the military operations will be as quick and cause as

few casualties as possible," he said.  Like other members, he said the council should quickly adopt a resolution to reactivate the oil-for-food programme, which was suspended on March 18, when Secretary General Kofi Annan ordered all UN international staff to leave Iraq.


But Russian ambassador Sergei Lavrov warned the United States and Britain that it would not allow the UN's humanitarian role to gloss over and justify their military action. "We will not support the proposal that the mechanism of the oil-for-food programme be adjusted to the military scenario," he said.

US ambassador stages walkout from Security Council meeting 
(Updated at 0045 PST)
WASHINGTON: US ambassador to UN has staged walk out from ongoing UN Security Council debate after Iraqi ambassador accused US of trying to exterminate Iraqi people. 

After staging walk out from Council meeting US ambassador John Negroponte spoke to reporters at UN head quarter, he said that US is pursuing two important issues in Middle East one of the Iraq and other of the Israeli and Palestinian conflict and both the issues deserve high priority attention of US foreign policy.

He said that as far as humanitarian supplies were concerned in Iraq it would become possible only when the allies move forward secure their objectives, secure the cities, restore the calm and peace to various parts of the Iraq, then the conditions will be created for the most expedition and effective delivery of humanitarian supplies for example the UN at the movement not allowing it is personnel to go back into Iraq because security reasons as the security gets restored it is easier for UN personnel and other NGOs to go in and do their work.

Iraq downs US helicopter, destroys 3 tanks: Al-Jazeera

(Updated at 0020 PST)

DOHA: Arab news channel Al-Jazeera aired Thursday what it said was exclusive footage of a US Army Apache attack helicopter, which Iraq claims to have shot down as well as having destroyed three tanks and an unmanned aircraft.


Iraq downs US helicopter, destroys 3 tanks: Al-Jazeera

(Updated at 0020 PST)

DOHA: Arab news channel Al-Jazeera aired Thursday what it said was exclusive footage of a US Army Apache attack helicopter, which Iraq claims to have shot down as well as having destroyed three tanks and an unmanned aircraft.

Convoy of food parcels hijacked in Iraq
(Updated at 2355 PST)
KUWAIT CITY: The much heralded operation to distribute humanitarian aid to the people of the Iraqi border town of Safwan on Wednesday has been a "disaster", according to the vice chairman of the Kuwaiti Red Crescent - the organisation which dispatched the lorry convoy of food parcels.

Dr Hilal Al-Sayer said that the tens of thousands of prepared meals and ration kits of rice, oil, sugar and cereals destined for farms just north of the Iraqi border, had instead been hijacked soon after leaving Kuwait.

"That aid didn't get to the farms where the women and children are, our people lost control and young Iraqi men began emptying the trucks," he said.

"It went to the well, young and healthy." Mr Al-Sayer says British troops advised staff from the Red Crescent (the local equivalent of the Red Cross) to abandon almost all their lorries to the crowd, since it was considered too dangerous to intervene to save the estimated 45,000 meal packs.  

More than 350 civilians have been killed: Iraq
(Updated at 2355 PST)
BAGHDAD: Iraq said on Thursday that more than 350 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the United States and Britain invaded one week ago, with women, children and elderly people making most of the victims.

"Massive amount" achieved in Iraq operation: Blair
(Updated at 2140 PST)    
CAMP DAVID, Maryland: British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Thursday US-led military operations have achieved "a massive amount" in the week since they started. 

British soldiers shown on Arabic television were "executed" Blair
(Updated at 2140 PST) 
CAMP DAVID, Maryland: Two dead British soldiers shown on Arabic television were "executed," British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Thursday.

Iraq war will last until victory: Bush says
(Updated at 2140 PST) 
CAMP DAVID, Maryland: US President George W. Bush on Thursday said the war against Iraq will last "however long it takes to win," brushing aside a question about whether the conflict could last months.


Iraq will be disarmed of weapons of mass destruction. And the Iraqi people will be freed. That is our commitment. That is our determination, and we will see it done,'' Blair added.

Blair said he and Bush had decided to seek new U.N. resolutions on humanitarian relief, post-war administration for Iraq and a promise to keep Iraq's territorial boundaries intact. 

Bush and Blair were briefed on the progress of the war in Iraq after a week of fierce combat, meeting amid growing signs Iraqi forces have dug in for a prolonged fight.

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.