Baghdad bombing, fighting in south, continues

28 March 2003
Baghdad suffered another night of heavy bombardment on 28 March, as two 4,700 lb satellite-guided 'bunker bombs' targeted communications facilities in the city. A US military spokesman said that a major communications centre on the east bank of the Tigris had been destroyed. Iraqi Defence Minister Sultan Hashem Ahmed warned coalition forces that they would have to fight street by street if they aimed to capture the city. 'The enemy must come inside Baghdad and that will be its grave,' he said. 'Baghdad cannot be taken as long as the citizens in it are still alive.' He said that he expected the invasion of the city to begin in five to ten days.

In the south, fighting continued near Nasiriya and the US prepared to bring in thousands of reinforcements to help break down the stubborn Iraqi resistance in the area. An Iraqi general was captured by marines from his home in the town and documents seized. US troops also engaged with elite Iraqi fighters near the central town of Samawa to secure a vital bridge on the route to Baghdad. UK forces destroyed fourteen tanks attempting to leave the besieged city of Basra, and exchanged fire with Fedayeen militiamen who were shooting at civilians as they tried to flee the city.

In northern Iraq, Kurdish troops moved into positions in Baghdad-controlled territory after they were vacated by Iraqi forces. The Iraqis abandoned the positions just to the west of Chamchamal having been hit by repeated bombing raids, and retreated to bases closer to Kirkuk. The 1,000 US paratroops who landed in Kurdish-controlled Iraq on 27 March took in tonnes of equipment at the Bashur airfield in preparation for the opening of a northern front against Saddam Hussein's forces.

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