Attack on Iraq: Wednesday Latest - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports


Attack on Iraq: Wednesday Latest

Crowds in central Baghdad prepare to pull down Saddam statue. Crowds in central Baghdad prepare to pull down Saddam statue.
Covering Saddam's face with an American flag, Marines put a rope around his neck. Covering Saddam's face with an American flag, Marines put a rope around his neck.
Crowds dance on the fallen statue. Crowds dance on the fallen statue.

Iraqi citizens celebrate as American commanders declare Saddam Hussein's rule over Baghdad is over. A towering figure of Saddam Hussein in the middle of downtown Baghdad was brought down with the help of a US Marine tank. Some threw shoes and slippers at it before it came down.

US tanks are moving openly through Iraq's capital city as residents greet them with cheers and open arms.

Even with the celebrating, fighting continues in the Iraqi capital. Officials say much of Baghdad is still not under coalition control. Third Infantry Division soldiers are staging armored raids within the city.

US led forces are also turning their attention 100 miles north of Baghdad, to Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit. Coalition aircraft are conducting air strikes against military targets where his loyalists are making a last stand.

Crowds are dancing in parts of the Iraqi capital, welcoming US troops, while many are also looting anything they can get their hands on. Iraqi's are stealing everything from flowerpots to jeeps, even copies of the Muslim holy book. People looted at a number of spots coming out with air conditioners, ceiling fans, refrigerators and TV sets.

US commanders declare that Saddam Hussein's regime has lost its grip on Baghdad. Central Command says Baghdad is now added to the list of areas that Saddam no longer controls, but a spokesperson adds even though there are good signs in Baghdad, intense fighting still lies ahead. Iraqi forces are still fighting back against US troops in the northern city of Mosul and in Saddam's home city of Tikrit.

Now there's a push to give US citizenship to all noncitizen soldiers who die in combat. PFC Diego Rincon, a Third ID soldier, is the first to get the honor. A suicide bomber in Iraq killed him March 29. Yesterday Georgia Senators Zell Miller and Saxby Chambliss announced that the Conyers man would be awarded citizenship posthumously.

All is mostly quiet in Baghdad as US soldiers move into many neighborhoods. But battles started with a skirmish on the west bank of the Tigris River yesterday, where US forces have dramatically expanded their control over territory. They were met by an Iraqi counterattack, which was defeated.

A top Pentagon officer has declared that Baghdad has been isolated and that US warplanes now own the Iraqi skies.

British forces have taken control of Iraq's second largest city of Basra, but looters are doing their best to steal anything they can get their hands on, keeping the soldiers busy. Truckloads of everything from school desks to grain are being taken. Some of the citizens have been trying to stop the looters by throwing rocks. In many cases, the soldiers are taking back control of the looted items.

Military officials still don't know if Saddam Hussein was killed in Monday's bombing of a Baghdad neighborhood. Civilians continue to get caught in the middle of the fighting. It's believed more than a dozen people were killed when US warplanes bombed this neighborhood trying to kill Saddam.

Last night a memorial service was held to remember three journalists killed reporting the war. Meanwhile a convoy of western journalists has arrived at the Palestine hotel in central Baghdad after driving from Jordan by car. The journalists said they had a responsibility to cover the war from inside the capital.

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