Friday, March 28, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Airfield in Kurdish area occupied
Patriot intercepts Iraqi missile over Kuwait
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

Kuwait City, March 27
Fast forward to September 2003. The US Presidential primaries have begun but President George W Bush faces a problem in re-nomination. Mr Saddam Hussein is not only alive and kicking but continues to wield power in Iraq as President.

This may sound as improbable as a Dracula guarding a bloodbank but independent observers here assert that the above possibility is not ruled out. The Gulf War-II is a long haul, they say, and it is almost certain to stretch into months. Moreover, the coalition forces are already realising that they are far too short in terms of manpower, logistics and supplies even though they have already mounted the greatest war effort the world has seen so far.

To ensure that Operation “Iraqi Freedom” gets over quickly, the Americans today took two key steps on the eighth day of the war today. First, some 30,000 additional US troops were rushed to the region. Secondly, the Americans opened another front in the Kurdish-controlled zone of northern Iraq as their 1000-odd paratroopers wrested control of a crucial airfield in the area. To give a potent military thrust to their troops in northern Iraq, the USA today also began airlifting troops, tanks and equipment into the area.

Iraq also tried, though unsuccessfully yet again, to open up the second major front when it fired at Kuwait, one of the six Arab countries which has provided military bases to the coalition forces.

The Iraqi missile attack on Kuwait — 16th since the outbreak of the war eight days ago — was intercepted by a Patriot missile soon after the Iraqi missile was launched at 11.35 am local time. Thousands of Kuwaitis heard the big bang when the two missiles collided mid-air. Military officials here said the debris did not fall on any residential areas and there were no casualties.

Agencies add

ARBIL: In Baghdad, it was war as usual. Dozens of shuddering explosions overnight kept inhabitants on edge after as many as 15 persons died on Wednesday, in what witnesses said was a US missile attack on a residential district.

President Bush hailed the rapid advance north from Kuwait, but he cautioned against hopes of quick victory, changing a speech at the last minute to erase an assessment that the campaign was “ahead of schedule”. The invasion has been hampered by Turkey’s refusal to let US troops cross its territory into Kurdish-run north Iraq to open a second front southwards to encircle Baghdad.

DUBAI: Amidst fears that the war could drag on for months, Iraq’s ruling Baath Party urged the Security Council to put an end to the US-led military offensive and force a withdrawal of the invading forces.

“We ask the Security Council and the international community to act seriously and put an end to aggression and pull out invading forces from our land immediately,” the party’s mouthpiece ‘Al Thawra’ newspaper said.

As the blinding sandstorms that had slowed the US troops movement cleared up, the US troops used heavy guns and tank shells as well as Apache helicopters to try to dislodge an estimated 1,500 Iraqi Fidayeen fighters who are guarding a bridge across the Euphrates river to make their way towards Baghdad.

Reports from the battlefront said units of US marines were pushing towards Baghdad from North and East and were over 250 km away from the city.

In the south of the country, coalition aircraft pounded a column of Iraqi tanks and armoured vehicles that was heading south out of Basra.

There have also been further clashes around the town of Nasiriya, with unconfirmed reports stating that dozens of US Marines have been injured in an exchange of fire with other US troops.

As many as 37 Marines were reported to have been injured, some critically, in the “friendly fire” incident.

UK raids destroyed transmitters in Basra, taking state radio and television off the air in the city and effectively cutting off its communications with Baghdad.

A UK military spokesman said two soldiers missing since Sunday were now believed to have been killed.

About 30 blasts hit Baghdad overnight, in four waves of air raids. There were some powerful blasts near the city centre, probably aimed at an Iraqi Government target.

Twenty US Marines were injured when Iraqi forces launched rocket attacks on their positions south of Nasiriya. US forces responded with a heavy air bombardment.

Iraqi officials claimed that the country’s Republican Guard engaged US troops for the first time overnight. But US officials rejected reports of a big advance southward from Baghdad by Republican Guard units.



Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
123 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |