Attack on Iraq: Thursday Latest

President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have launched a media campaign in Iraq. The purpose is to reassure the Iraqi people that freedom is nearly theirs.

The speeches were taped and will be shown five hours a day, five days a week on a former Iraqi state TV channel.

Bush's speech, in part, says, "The nightmare that Saddam Hussein has brought to your nation will soon be over. You are a good and gifted people--the heirs of a great civilization that contributes to all humanity. You deserve better than tyranny and corruption and torture chambers. You deserve to live as free people. And I assure every citizen of Iraq: your nation will soon be free."

US Marines try to blow up another statue of Saddam Hussein. It made a big noise, but the explosion was only partially successful.

US forces rolled through the streets of Abril and are helping Kurds advance on cities and oilfields controlled from Baghdad.

The focus of the war is shifting north to places like Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's home town. The Pentagon says the last significant Iraqi military units on the battlefield might be there.

Marines found a huge cache of hundreds of mortars, rocket propelled grenades, the systems to fire them and millions of rounds of ammunition.

Even as the Iraqi people celebrate the downfall of Saddam Hussein's regime, more US troops are being attacked. Four Marines were seriously hurt during a suicide attack today. A man with explosives strapped to his body approached a US checkpoint and set them off. It happened near a neighborhood known as Saddam City.

Coalition troops have launched heavy air strikes in Saddam Hussein's home town of Tikrit. Diehard Hussein supporters could try to make a last stand there.

Turkey is sending military observers into Kirkuk with the approval of the US.

It's been another day of intense fighting and widespread looting in Baghdad. US Central Command says Marines fought with Saddam loyalists at a mosque and two other locations.

Central Command spokesman Gene Renuart says it will be the Iraqi people who choose how their towns will be governed, and how the country as a whole will be run.

Coalition forces are now turning their attention to northern Iraq. Kurdish guerrillas have taken over Kirkuk after government troops surrendered the city.

President George Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair are sending a televised message to the Iraqi people saying the nightmare is over.

Bringing back thoughts of historic events like the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, American troops helped bring down a symbol of Saddam Hussein's rule yesterday. An armored vehicle used to tow disabled tanks was brought in after Iraqi civilians were unable to take a statue of Saddam down themselves in central Baghdad. Marines attached a chain around the 40-foot bronze statue's neck and pulled it down as hundreds of Iraqis cheered. The civilians then broke up the symbol of their oppression, and dragged the head through the streets of Baghdad.

The fighting continues in and around Baghdad. One US Marine has been killed and 15 to 20 others wounded in a fierce battle north of the capital. The firefight broke out early today as the Marines took control of yet another of Saddam Hussein's many palaces. After gaining control, the Marines went to a round-about in the center of the city and worked to take down another statue of Saddam. But this time they used plastic explosives and only damaged parts of the statue.

Earlier, at the Iraqi oil ministry, troops took on Fedayeen fighters. After two hours of small arms fire and grenade launches, the battle was over with two Iraqi snipers dead and no American casualties.

Closer to home, family, friends and fellow soldiers are saying farewell to six fallen soldiers from Hunter Army Airfield killed in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Yesterday afternoon, hundreds of people packed Hunter's chapel for a memorial ceremony to honor the men from the Second battalion, Third Aviation Regiment. Last Wednesday, their UH 60 Blackhawk helicopter went down over central Iraq. All six men where awarded the bronze star for their duty in the line of service.

President Bush says he isn't ready to declare victory in Iraq. Top US officials are also cautioning that the war isn't over, but say President Bush watched on TV as a US military vehicle helped Iraqis tear down the statue of Saddam Hussein, a symbol of his fallen regime. Iraqis in the center of Baghdad rode the statue's head through the city's streets, saying life can begin now.