Attack on Iraq: Monday Latest

On the Tigris River in Baghdad, Iraqi forces dug in along the banks, but American tanks are targeting them. At a canal east of Baghdad, the problem was with Iraqi forces crossing, so they eliminated the problem, blowing up one section of the bridge. In a fierce firefight at that bridge, Marines took two casualties.

The air war continues, with coalition forces hitting targets hard, pounding military sites on the northern front, supporting Kurdish militia and special forces on the ground.

President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell are meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair in Northern Ireland today. They're discussing the rebuilding of Iraq after the war.

US troops have made a virtual circle around Baghdad. The 101st Airborne Division and the Third Infantry Division both approached the city from the west, the 101st going one way, the Third ID going the other, and then directly into the city, with the First Marines coming in from the East.

US troops backed by warplanes and and unmanned drones seized one of Saddam Hussein's palaces today. Sniper have been firing at soldiers near the palace from rooms at a hotel owned by the government.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says it will take days to determine whether suspicious material found south of Baghdad are chemical weapons. Tests have had inconsistent results, but some have detected nerve agents such as sarin.

The names of the six Hunter Army Airfield men who were killed in a Blackhawk helicopter crash last week in central Iraq have been released. They are:

  • 29-year-old Capt. James F. Adamouski of Springfield, Virginia
  • 22-year-old Spec. Mathew G. Boule of Dracut, Massachusetts
  • 40-year-old Chief Warrant Officer Rrik A. Halvorsen of Bennington, Vermont
  • 32-year-old Chief Warrant Officer Scott Jamar of Granbury, Texas
  • 26-year-old Sgt. Michael F. Pedersen of Flint, Michigan
  • 41-year-old Chief Warrant Officer Eric A. Smith of California

All six men were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment at Hunter Army Airfield.

A Fort Stewart soldier who grew up in Savannah has been killed in Iraq. Thirty-one-year-old Capt. Edward J. Korn, with stationed the Third Infantry Division, 64th Armory, died Thursday while investigating the wreckage of an Iraqi tank. Capt. Korn attended the Bethesda School for Boys in Savannah.

US troops have stormed into the heart of Baghdad and seized key buildings, including one of Saddam Hussein's palaces on the Tigris River. US tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles can be seen while fires burn across the river. Some American casualties are reported, according to a lieutenant colonel of the Third Battalion, Fourth Marines. Four or five Marines were killed when their armored troop carrier took a direct hit from an artillery shell at a bridge on the outskirts of Baghdad.

American fighter planes are flying non-stop over Baghdad, firing on targets and providing close air support for coalition forces.

As US troops move into Baghdad in force, British troops are doing the same in the southern city of Basra. Reporters embedded with units in the area say British troops are taking up key strategic positions inside the city. They say the troops encountered little resistance during an early morning raid. British officers say the body of Ali Hassan al Majid, nicknamed "Chemical Ali," has been found in Basra. Majid was Saddam Hussein's cousin. His villa was the target of a coalition air strike on Saturday.

The Army is investigating the crash of a Black Hawk helicopter that killed six soldiers from Hunter Army Airfield. The UH 60 Black Hawk went down in a firefight Wednesday night in Iraq. Army officials say the helicopter had been hovering over a fire fight between American and Iraqi forces in central Iraq. The Pentagon says four other soldiers were hurt, another is missing.