Saturday, March 29, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Fresh raids rock Baghdad
Saddam fidayeen newest threat for allies
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

Kuwait City, March 28
The America-led coalition forces were forced to change their strategy yet again in the face of a formidable foe — Saddam fidayeen — even as the US bombers carried out their heaviest bombing on Baghdad today.

The American warplanes dropped two 4,700-pound "bunker busters" on a communication tower in Baghdad — the first time in the nine-day-long war when they have dropped such lethal bombs on the Iraqi capital.

Military officials here vow of more intense and ruthless bombing of Baghdad. They point out that they might as well use the 21,000-pound MOAB (Mother Of All Bombs), which is still under experimentation by Pentagon.

A new factor has been introduced in the Iraq war by Saddam fidayeen, which has been spearheading the armed resistance by Iraqi forces so far and saving the elite Republic Guards for the final battle. Officials here describe Saddam fidayeen as one of the most lethal weapons Mr Hussein always had up his sleeve and which he has chosen to unleash at the enemy now to spring a surprise.

The outfit, comprising over 20,000 men, is supervised by Mr Hussein’s son Uday. The outfit comprises of hardcore Saddam loyalists and its members are given a special status. Fidayeen members enjoy immense clout, are paid fat salaries and enjoy huge perks and benefits. Most fidayeen men have grabbed pieces of land. In many cases many hardened criminals have been inducted into the outfit on the basis of their loyalty to Mr Hussein.

The fidayeen members are ruthless and barbaric and there are at least 300 known cases wherein an opponent’s head is chopped off by the fidayeen and the family members of the victim are made to pose for a photograph holding the chopped off head.

In another development, the allies’ first humanitarian aid shipment reached southern Iraq today when British Navy’s ship Sir Galahad docked in Umm Qasr, Iraq’s only deep-water port captured by the allies earlier this week. The ship carried 300 tonnes of food and water for the Iraqi people who have been facing an acute shortage of food since the war began.

BAGHDAD (AFP): The city was rocked by fresh explosions early today as the allies kept up the pressure on Saddam Hussein’s regime, relentlessly pounding the Iraqi capital in preparation for a final push.

But US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair admitted the war could last longer than expected.

The Iraqi capital was bombarded throughout yesterday and into the night, with successive raids leaving columns of smoke billowing from several spots inside the city of five million and on the outskirts.

A naval spokesman on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier in the eastern Mediterranean said coalition destroyers in the area had fired around 10 Tomahawk cruise missiles on Baghdad.

The night-time raids followed yesterday’s battering of the city in the most intense rounds of daylight strikes since the war began on March 20.

Pentagon officials announced yesterday the USA would more than double its ranks engaged in Iraq, with 1,20,000 troops ready to join the 90,000 already on the ground.




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 |