Monday, March 31, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Suicide attack on US base
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

Kuwait City, March 30
In a day of fast-paced developments on Day 11 of Operation Iraqi Freedom today, 15 American troops were injured in a suspected Iraqi suicide attack in this city, the US-led allies launched “seek and destroy” missions in Central Iraq to clear route towards Baghdad and the coalition forces claimed to have secured control of Iraq’s entire coastline and 95 per cent of airspace.

Simultaneously, the coalition forces continued with their guns and butter strategy and were scheduled to begin from tomorrow the construction of a six lakh gallon-capacity fresh water pipeline from Kuwait to the captured Iraqi port of Umm Qasr to forestall a serious water crisis looming large in southern Iraq.

The war seemed to be getting into a dirty phase as an attacker drove a small Nissan pickup truck into a group of soldiers at Camp Udairi, a US base in Kuwait. The entire complex had been sealed after the incident during which firing shots, presumably from American soldiers, were heard. American and Kuwaiti officials here were tightlipped about the incident and no details were forthcoming.

Today’s attack comes a day after yesterday’s suicide car bombing in southern Iraq by an Iraqi soldier in which four American soldiers were killed.

The officials here quoted the American military chief, Gen Tommy Franks, as saying that the modus operandi in today’s attack was different from yesterday’s car bombing. This is the first major attack on US soldiers here since the war began 11 days ago with the coalition forces using Kuwait territory as the major launching pad.

Significantly, today’s attack comes shortly after Iraq’s Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan warning that terrorism may be taken to US and British soil. “The day will come when a single martyrdom operation will kill 5,000 enemies. We will use any means to kill our enemy in our land and we will follow the enemy into its land. This (the car bombing) is just the beginning.”

The coalition forces today claimed that they had secured control over Iraq’s entire coastline, 95 per cent of airspace, 40 per cent of territory and more than 600 oil wells. Officials here said “thousands” of Iraqi fighters had been killed in the war so far while the coalition had suffered only 59 deaths — 32 Americans and 23 British. Seven Americans have been taken prisoners of war while 15 Americans were missing in action.

In the north, the allies claimed a huge success when they bombed positions of Ansar al-Islam, suspected to be linked to Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaida, and killed more than 120 “terrorists” in this single operation. A significant departure from the blitzkrieg approach was visible in the Americans’ military strategy as they virtually restarted the war with focus on pummelling the Republican Guard forces with savage bombing.


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