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Last Updated:  Friday, 11 April, 2003, 00:16 GMT 01:16 UK
Reporters' Log: War in Iraq
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The BBC's unrivalled team of correspondents is bringing you news from the Gulf and reaction from around the world. On this page BBC News Online logs their impressions and personal experiences as they watch events unfold.

Most recent postings are at the top.

Thursday, 10 April

Pentagon :: Nick Childs :: 2307GMT

The Pentagon says it's aggressively targeting the last significant Iraqi army units in the north, but were still trying to work out the strength of defences around Saddam Hussein's home town of Tikrit.

In Baghdad, the Pentagon says dealing with the remaining pockets of resistance in the city remained the top priority for US forces, ahead of tackling law and order issues like looting. But an official said there were efforts under way to get the religious leadership there to try to settle down the population.

Baghdad :: Paul Wood :: 2224GMT

The American and British conquest of Baghdad is almost complete. They are bringing freedom to the Iraqis but they have yet to bring security and stability to the streets.

Downing St, London:: Andrew Marr :: 2121GMT

There are three main worries here for Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Firstly, weapons of mass destruction, they really must find them now.

Law and order is a problem, the British and US must take responsibility for what is happening on the streets of Baghdad and other cities.

Thirdly, the future of Iraq, what happens now, the British want a broad coalition involved in any future administration.

Baghdad :: Rageh Omaar :: 2107GMT

The realisation is dawning here about the real problems after the Saddam era.

A scene of disorder and looting in the centre, on the outskirts of the city there has been fierce fighting today.

The hospitals are in an awful condition, causalities are still coming in. Doctors and staff are not coming in. The UN is absent from here now. Humanitarian aid is needed very soon.

Kirkuk :: Dumeetha Luthra :: 2101GMT

There is no definite timetable for the Kurdish fighters here to withdraw from the city. One military figure has told me they would regroup and head towards to Tikrit.

However another commander said it was likely his men would withdraw to military barracks vacated by Iraqi troops.

At the moment it is all very quiet on the streets, night has fallen.

The transition from Iraqi power to coalition power has been relatively smooth but people are fearful that something may still happen tonight.

So the streets are very quiet now and people are staying in their homes.

Amman, Jordan :: Richard Galpin :: 2031GMT

The United Nations has accused American and British forces in Iraq of breaking the Geneva Conventions by failing to protect hospitals from gangs of looters.

UN humanitarian officials say there is now anarchy and chaos in parts of Baghdad and other towns and cities.

Senior UN officials say they are extremely concerned about the widespread looting which they say is indiscriminate and includes schools and food warehouses, but they have been particularly disturbed by the looting of one of the largest hospitals in Baghdad.

According to the UN there is now no law and order in the capital, making it virtually impossible for the few remaining international aid workers in the city to reach the hospitals.

This, it says, endangers the lives the sick and wounded. Stocks of medicine were already extremely low due to the high number of casualties in recent days following the American assault on the city.

CentCom, Doha :: Nicholas Witchell :: 2020GMT

American forces in Baghdad will have another night on their guard. They will be hoping their ongoing combat operations against these pockets of resistance will eventually wear them down.

On the reports of a suicide attack on US marines in Baghdad, all the military here are saying is that there were serious injuries to a number of soldiers as a result.

The military remain configured for war fighting and until that is complete they cannot turn their attention to problems on the streets.

I think the feeling is the looting, though serious, is not life threatening.

Kirkuk :: John Simpson :: 2004GMT

An American division has sped down here now and are preparing to take over the city from the Kurdish fighters.

The Kurdish fighters may not be very happy about just wandering out of here again.

The Iraqis have vanished, as we made our way in we saw little trails of uniforms everywhere.

I imagine they were ripping off their clothes and running for it.

London :: Pam O'Toole :: 1919GMT

A senior Iraqi Kurdish official says the two main Iraqi Kurdish parties have agreed to withdraw their forces from the northern city of Kirkuk.

They are tacitly admitting that some of their militiamen jumped the gun in Kirkuk, and they're now trying to put things right.

The prime minister of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Barham Saleh has told the BBC that some of their forces had entered the city after a popular uprising and the collapse of the regime's defences.

But he said both the main Kurdish parties had always been committed not to do anything unilaterally. Everything must be done within the context of the US led coalition.

That coalition had asked for all peshmerga forces who had entered Kirkuk from outside the city to be redeployed to their original positions and that obligation should be implemented.

He believed that some of the Iraqi Kurdish forces would start withdrawing on Friday and he hoped that would produce a situation which was acceptable to everyone.

Mr Saleh said that the Iraqi Kurds were working with the US led coalition to ensure that the people of Iraq were given the chance to establish a federal democracy, he stressed that they would not do anything to compromise that goal.

Western Baghdad :: Gavin Hewitt :: 1851GMT

It has been an interesting day. In west Baghdad the day began with continuing skirmishes.

They were loud and fierce but they died out after about four or five hours and the rest of the day has been given over to scenes of liberation.

I drove in an American armoured column through the city for about three or four hours and people lined the streets. They held up babies to the tank column.

They threw cigarettes at the soldiers and there was one man who ran alongside the tank column saying Saddam killed my family, thank you President Bush, thank you Tony Blair, so the scenes have been very jubilant.

There has been some looting but not on a very significant scale.

This evening vast numbers of people who have fled the city because of the war were coming back into to town and forming, in fact, long lines trying to reach their homes.

The shops remain shuttered, but certainly in west Baghdad tonight there is very little anarchy on the streets. Most people are staying indoors and it is fairly quiet and at the moment no sounds of any fighting.

Centcom, Qatar :: Jon Brain :: 1839GMT

We don't know exactly how widespread the resistance remains in Baghdad but we do know it is heavy when Americans come under attack.

There has been a fierce fire fight near a mosque today and a suicide attack this evening on US marines in the city.

This is proving a major headache for the forces.

In Northern Iraq the Kurdish forces have moved into Kirkuk, the spokesmen here are saying little on the record about this. Privately they are saying the Kurdish fighters moved in without co-ordinating it with the coalition forces.

After the euphoria of yesterday it has been a much harder day for the coalition forces today.

Basra :: Clive Myrie :: 1825GMT

Despite being liberated by British forces, the people of Basra face enormous problems.

In Iraq, petrol is cheaper than water, which is a precious commodity in this arid land and one of the biggest humanitarian problems facing the 1.5million people of Basra.

These people have been reduced to breaking into mains pipes to get some clean water.

Kirkuk :: Dumeetha Luthra :: 1807GMT

From what I understand Turkish military observers are on their way. The pictures of Kurdish forces roaming freely around Kirkuk is something they probably greatly fear.

What the Kurdish officials here in northern Iraq have been saying is they don't want an independent Kurdish state, they want to be part of a federal Iraq, but with a degree of self-determination.

I remember speaking to the prime minister once who said "we know that due to the sensitivities of our neighbours, we can't have an independent state, it's not realistic. But allow me to have my dream, even if it can't be a reality."

Paris, France :: Emma Jane Kirby :: 1754GMT

In a short statement given to a national news agency, the French President Jacque Chirac gave France's official reaction to the fall of Baghdad.

We are, he said, pleased like all democracies that Saddam Hussein's regime has been toppled. The French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin was more forthcoming. He said his country was rejoicing that a sombre page in Iraqi history had now been turned.

But both men insisted the priority now must be getting humanitarian aid into Iraq and Mr de Villepin reiterated France's demand that any post-war administration should be led by the UN and not the US.

Some of the French newspapers however are suggesting that perhaps President Chirac has scored an own goal in voicing such fierce opposition to this war.

Not only, they say, has he isolated himself internationally, but by failing to back the winning horse, he may also now lose the loyal support of his people.

Kuwait :: Annita McVeigh :: 1737GMT

What the aid agencies are saying is that they would like the Coalition troops to take on much more of a policing role now. We know the Coalition troops aren't keen to do that. But the aid agencies would like them to do that, to make it safer for some of these aid convoys to begin to move in substantial numbers into Iraq.

Western Iraq :: Caroline Hawley :: 1734GMT

The Iraqi guards on the border with Jordan have just melted away. They seem to have left in a great hurry from here.

There are no sign of people leaving Iraq though. I'm told the road ahead of us towards Baghdad is very dangerous. There is still fighting and the situation is still unsettled.

It is clear the Americans are not in full control in this area. We know that special forces came across to this region from Jordan.

The border area has been very quiet in terms of the news coverage so far, but it is clearly still very dangerous here.

Washington D.C. :: Nick Childs :: 1732GMT

It's been very much a message of carrying on business as usual after the euphoria of yesterday.

One official speaking to me said they had enough forces in Baghdad to control the city in a military sense, but that's not taking into account the law and order situation.

Baghdad :: Rageh Omaar :: 1728GMT

It's pretty awful here in the city, particularly in the hospitals, they are in a very bad state. They are utterly stretched to the limit.

People in the city remain in darkness tonight, with no electricity and no water.

They are without the ability to conduct basic living here.

Damascus :: Kim Ghattas :: 1720GMT

Here in Damascus the reaction to the fall of Baghdad has been one of disbelief, and even anger.

"Where is the great battle of Baghdad that Saddam had promised?" ask people here, "where is the heroic resistance?"

One man here said that if Saddam Hussein dared to show up at any Syrian border post he would be shot immediately, for treason to the Arab cause.

Baghdad :: Rageh Omaar :: 1715GMT

Yesterday was such a defining and euphoric day that everyone in the city is emotionally drained today.

What replaces the Saddam regime is what we're looking at now.

Kirkuk, Iraq :: John Simpson :: 1709GMT

Now it has gone quiet, some shooting still going on in the background, out of rejoicing nothing sinister.

It's been a very rapturous day here today in the north. This city just collapsed, the Kurdish fighters just came in and the Iraqi soldiers just took off their uniforms and ran away.

By tomorrow we will see American troops on the streets. There will be great rejoining then too I'm sure.

I think in terms of the constitutional future of this country they will start to take on the regional aspect of this. They will start in the south and move to other parts, they will gather together people from within the country, groupings which they will be able to bring together in Baghdad in some months time.

That is they way I understand it. It will not make it look then like the Kurds are going for independence. That is important for Turkey and for the Americans too.

Washington, D.C. :: Justin Webb :: 1656GMT

The Bush administration has been giving more details of the role it envisages for the United Nations in post war Iraq.

The Secretary of State, Colin Powell, confirmed that America would select the emerging leaders to take part in the interim government. The UN would be asked to endorse that government.

The administration says the French, German and Russian governments, due to meet in St Petersburg at the weekend, should consider writing off their loans to Iraq.

Kuwait City :: Valerie Jones :: 1651GMT

Here the Kuwaiti people have been watching the television pictures of Iraqis celebrating in the streets with a growing sense of justification for their support of the war. Kuwait is the only Arab country where there have been pro war rallies.

Here memories of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 have remained bitter. It's been felt that Kuwait could never be safe while Saddam Hussein was across the border.

Kuwaitis' support for the war has isolated them in the Arab world. But as the stone images of Saddam Hussein have toppled, Kuwaitis have been critical of other Arab countries for not having the courage to stand up against his regime.

But the Kuwaitis are also making much of sending aid into Iraq. They want to make the point that they were against the regime, not against the Iraqi people.

Baghdad :: Paul Wood :: 1641GMT

The thought that suicide bombers may be lurking among the people they're here to liberate can only distance the marines from ordinary Iraqis.

There's no real tradition of suicide bombers in Iraq. If confirmed, this incident may be linked to the presence of the so-called 'Arab Volunteers', fighters from across the Middle East who came here with the express wish of martyring themselves for Saddam Hussein.

Istanbul :: Jonny Dymond :: 1632GMT

Turkey's reaction to the capture of Kirkuk by Kurdish forces was swift.

The continued presence of the Peshmerga who had taken the city was "unacceptable" according to a Foreign Ministry official.

CentCom, Qatar :: Nicholas Witchell :: 1619GMT

Reports from Baghdad of four US marines seriously injured in what's being described as a suicide bomb attack on a checkpoint.

Baghdad :: Paul Wood :: 1600GMT

We are getting word of an apparent suicide bomb attack on a marine checkpoint near this hotel. About forty minutes ago we heard a series of detonations which sounded very close to us.

I spoke to a couple of marines and they said a man had approached a checkpoint and pulled the pin on one or several grenades which he was holding close to his chest. There are casualties from that incident.

Jordanian-Iraqi border :: Fergal Keane :: 1545GMT

We've just managed to cross now into the main customs post right next to Jordan. This was the place where all the big leaders of Iraq in the bad old days of Saddam's regime, used to come out to the western world.

There are still statues of Saddam here, still posters of him, but everything else is being looted by Bedouin tribes people from the desert. They're coming in and taking anything which can be carried. It's a mix of things from rocket-propelled grenades, to rice.

CentCom, Qatar :: Nicholas Witchell :: 1535GMT

The Coalition are saying they have most of Baghdad under their control.

But as was demonstrated this morning, this intense fire fight the US marines were involved in around a mosque shows there is the potential for further confrontations with remnants of the regime.

Baghdad :: Paul Wood :: 1426GMT

What we are seeing are tiny islands of resistance, partly by the Republican Guard, but also by a group called the Arab Volunteer Fighters.

I met busloads of them before this phase of the conflict started: I met Syrians, Lebanese, Jordanians, Albanians, and at one stage the Iraqis authorities claimed there were 6000 of these Arab Volunteers. I don't think there was anything like that.

But there are a small band of these people carrying out attacks against Americans in what they believe is a holy war. There are some people still prepared to die for Saddam Hussein.

Kirkuk :: John Simpson :: 1420GMT

I'm standing in the main square of "liberated Kirkuk" - looking at a 15 foot statue of Saddam Hussein which has been pushed off its plinth.

Its head has been sawn off, and the people here are mocking it in 100 different ways - now someone is beating the head of the statue with a hammer - and the crowds are filling the streets and shooting in the air.

Kurds call Kirkuk the Jerusalem of Kurdistan, this place is more important to them even than keeping on the right side of the Americans. It has a big majority of Kurds, and it is natural to a lot of people that Kurds should run it.

But the problem is Turkey, which will be very worried at the sight of all these Kurds running through the centre of Kirkuk. We understand they are already demanding the withdrawal of the Kurdish troops.

It is a significant moment for the Kurds. If they let this go wrong then it jeopardises the future.

So after the first sheer rapture of liberation, we can expect people to come to their senses and realise that this is not the best way to attract the good intentions of the Americans and the Turks.

Kirkuk :: John Simpson :: 1338GMT

A column of dark smoke is going up from one of the nearest oil wells to the city, torched apparently on Saddam Hussein's instructions. And there's another one burning further off.

Also oil trenches around the city, apparently dug to deter attackers.

Kirkuk :: Dumeetha Luthra :: 1315GMT

Kurdish forces are now flooding into the city. There are truckloads coming in. I can hear the honking of horns and everyone's crowded into the city centre. They've just torn down a statue of Saddam Hussein in scenes very reminiscent of those in Baghdad yesterday. At the moment it's all very chaotic, but jolly.

Outside of Kirkuk there has been fighting, but within Kirkuk itself it was relatively peaceful. There was an uprising in the Kurdish area, and they pushed the Ba'athists out. The Ba'athists have retreated towards Tikrit.

The military commander told me that once there is calm in the city they will be leaving. This is a very sensitive issue. Turkey has made it clear that if the Kurds stay that will give them an excuse to cross the border with their troops. So the Kurds have been very clear they won't be staying in Kirkuk.

Washington DC :: Philippa Thomas :: 1256GMT

The statement from President Bush and Prime Minister Blair is clear.

Bush is saying the aim is to stabilise the country, reassure Iraqis they are free, somehow transfer power and then leave. They're trying to get the message over that the Americans are not there to stay as occupiers. They want to facilitate an Iraqi democratic gathering.

In Washington there is a tension between those who want to get prominent exiled Iraqis into position as soon as possible, and those who say this should be a chance for leaders to arise from the population of liberated Iraqis.

Amarah, Iraq :: David Loyn :: 1245GMT

The key message from the people locally is: it's all very well bringing all these guns but we have no electricity, we have no good water supplies and there is a real concern about law and order.

There no real sense of who is in control. There are various families that claim they are in control and some of them have been given satellite phones by the Americans to try and keep in contact but it's a very confused situation and the Americans are certainly not patrolling the streets of Amarah with any certainty yet.

Basra :: Clive Myrie :: 1240GMT

The British forces are being drawn into becoming a de-facto police force here and also a humanitarian aid agency. They are being sucked into the kind of job they didn't want to do.

We've seen today for example British armoured vehicles escorting two huge water tankers all the way from Kuwait into the centre of the city here. Lack of clean water is a major concern.

We've also seen more effective work on the ground from British forces trying to deal with the looting.

They wanted to win this war first and then look to other matters but it seems those two twin objectives are being rolled into one.

Baghdad :: David Willis :: 1230GMT

On the way here, overnight, there was very, very fierce opposition and there were times when we had to literally bury our heads on the floor of the armoured vehicle as the shots flew overhead.

It was really a very dramatic fire-fight and I'm very relieved that that particular episode is over.

CentCom, Qatar :: Paul Adams :: 1228GMT

The military here say that the ring around Baghdad is now complete. There is still a battle in one area involving the Americans.

The north however is still a very fluid front in this war. The eyes will very soon be on Tikrit, Saddam's birthplace. Coalition forces will not do that for a few days though until they are ready.

Baghdad :: David Willis :: 1218GMT

I'm holed up in what once was an elaborate palace but it is in ruins now. The fierce fighting continues all around us here and the city of Baghdad is far from secure.

Baghdad :: Rageh Omaar :: 1215GMT

Baghdad is still a dangerous place, the streets are deserted and families have barricaded themselves in their houses for safety.

Certainly in the Mansour area in the west seems to have been taken over to some extent by non-Iraqi Arab fighters.

In other areas there are pockets of what are presumed to be Fedayeen or Republican Guard elements.

I'd be amazed if Saddam Hussein was still in Baghdad. I find it utterly plausible that he'd put on a last minute fight with his pearl-handed revolvers that he is known to have but I doubt whether he is still here in this compound where fighting is still going on.

Kirkuk :: John Simpson :: 1210GMT

It's an extraordinary scene here. I'm walking down into the city from the outskirts where there has been a lot of fighting on the south east of the city, including the Americans dropping two bombs on the Kurdish fighters.

I'm not sure how many people, if any, it killed, but it had a really bad effect on the Kurds of course.

Now walking into the city alongside a road on which there are hundreds of cars pouring in with Kurdish people waving green flags, American flags, there's a great Volvo truck coming now with about 40 people on it, all waving, all absolutely delighted.

Baghdad :: Paul Wood :: 1209GMT

The Americans, US 3rd Infantry are having a pretty hard time of it in one suburb, Mansour. It is still in some sense a shooting war here. We are still hearing small arms fire.

The looting is now spreading, the German embassy was done this morning and the UNICEF building has also been targeted. The American are here with tanks and now they are expected to be a police force.

Istanbul, Turkey :: Jonny Dymond :: 1158GMT

The taking of the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk by the Kurdish Peshmerga assisted, it seems, by US forces has prompted comment from Iraq's northern neighbour, Turkey.

Abdullah Gul, the country's foreign minister, told reporters that the government was following everything carefully and it would do what was necessary. Turkey has for a long time opposed Kurdish control of Kirkuk, one of the areas of Iraq richest in oil.

Baghdad :: David Willis :: 1155GMT

It's like fiction here on the northern banks of the river Tigris, sheltering in one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces with a thousand troops looking for Saddam Hussein.

London :: Guto Harri :: 1150GMT

Home Secretary Jack Straw has just been giving an upbeat but sober assessment of the situation in the Commons.

He has been watching the pictures from Baghdad like everybody else and is very encouraged by what he sees and wants to celebrate with the Iraqi people but he says that this war is far from over.

They don't know where Saddam Hussein is and there are people who were so closely associated with the regime that they still pose a threat and are still at large. So despite the euphoria, still quite cautious at this stage.

Kirkuk, Iraq :: Dumeetha Luthra :: 1120GMT

I've just spoken to a Kurdish commander and he says that the city of Kirkuk is under Kurdish and American control.

He says the Iraqi forces have retreated on the road towards Tikrit and have bunkered up in an Iraqi position about 5km outside Kirkuk on the road to Tikrit.

Amman, Jordan :: Lyse Doucet :: 1115GMT

The political battle is still to be won here. In Britain perhaps the headlines are of the end of an era but the tone and the language hasn't changed across the Arab world.

There have been no tears shed for Saddam Hussein or his regime but deep, deep distrust still of what is to come and still disbelief in the intentions of the British and the Americans.

Baghdad :: Paul Wood :: 1105GMT

The situation in the city generally is not quite secure yet. We heard only a few seconds ago, the sound of a large explosion.

We've been hearing the sound of artillery this morning and there has been continuous engagement at the mosque.

We've seen the Americans blocking off certain roads with vehicles so obviously they don't feel entirely secure here.

CentCom, Qatar :: Dominic Hughes :: 1051GMT

There has been no confirmation from US Central Command that the oil city of Kirkuk has fallen to the Kurdish forces supported by US troops.

The battle for Kirkuk is one of a number going on in northern Iraq. There have been further bombardments of Iraqi forces outside Saddam Hussein's home city of Tikrit amid suggestions that this is where senior leadership figures have fled to.

US forces are believed to be preparing to head north once the situation in Baghdad is under control.

Amman :: Lyse Doucet :: 1030GMT

Newspapers across the Arab world today feature the events of yesterday.

One largely Saudi paper put a photo of the moment when the statue of Saddam Hussein went down on the whole of the front page.

However, another paper chose to feature a photo of the moment when a US flag went up over Saddam's face. Their news story reports that invaders have occupied Baghdad, and there is now widespread looting in the city.

Yet another Arab newspaper has done a cartoon of the statue of Saddam being forced down by the American tanks - with another statue of a smiling and waving George Bush ready to go up in its place.

Baghdad :: Andrew Gilligan :: 1016GMT

Saddam Hussein has already been spotted in more places than Lord Lucan. He's been in the Russian embassy, he's been in the mosque this morning, he's alleged to be on a convoy to Syria - no doubt he'll soon be found on a sofa in Huddersfield.

He's a man of great mystery. It was never certain he was in Baghdad in the first place. Of course everyone is very keen to find him and bring him to justice.

CentCom, Qatar :: Paul Adams :: 1009GMT

No one at Central Command is confirming the rumour that Saddam Hussein may have been spotted in the area of Baghdad where fighting has been ongoing this morning.

What we are being told is that a raid was launched against a building where regime leadership elements - and they are no more specific than that - were meeting and organising.

A fire fight erupted. Some people who were there moved to an adjacent mosque and used that for cover. The fighting went on for some time. We are told that one marine was killed and 20 were wounded, and that the fighting is now over.

Kirkuk :: Dumeetha Luthra :: 0946GMT

I'm now standing in the Kurdish area of Kirkuk. There are Peshmerga Kurdish soldiers rolling by me in trucks.

There are people on the streets celebrating. A moment ago, they were beating a Saddam mosaic with their sandals.

In the background, you can hear gunfire. There's a lot of celebratory fire coming from the Kurdish soldiers as they fire into the air as they are coming into the city.

What they are saying is that there is no one here left from the Iraqi army, but there are pockets of resistance from the Baath party.

Kirkuk :: Dumeetha Luthra :: 0912GMT

It's quite a bizarre scene. I'm standing outside the Baath party Headquarters which has been totally vandalised and looted. I'm watching Peshmerga cars go in with soldiers packed on the back of pickups branding Kalashnikovs.

The Kurdish officials here have been very carefully saying this is a US-led force and they are working under the Americans. So far I've seen very little evidence of Americans here. I've only seen a lot of Kurdish soldiers.

Kirkuk :: Dumeetha Luthra :: 0850 GMT

What I'm seeing is lots of Kurdish soldiers. There's been a lot of celebratory fire, people are on the streets saying "long live America, long live American soldiers".

It's quite chaotic at the moment. The Kurdish soldiers are claiming they have control of the entire city with just a few pockets of resistance.

Qatar, CentCom :: Paul Adams :: 0829GMT

It does seem as though having softened up the defences from the air around Kirkuk, the Kurds feel confident to go in to the city, if these reports are indeed accurate.

My guess is that this has been done with the Americans blessing. I hope it is, or else it will mean a very volatile situation.

Kirkuk :: Dumeetha Luthra :: 0827GMT

It appears Kirkuk has fallen. It is in Kurdish and American control.

We're being told Kurdish forces are in the centre of the town.

Baghdad :: Rageh Omaar :: 0810GMT

We've seen government buildings on fire - the finance and health buildings have been set ablaze. Fighting continues, there is insecurity and no real civic order.

The critical question that addresses the whole city is, who will fill the political vacuum? American troops will have to make contact with the grassroots administrators who made the city run, and get them back to work.

You can't wipe the slate clean of civil servants and say: they were part of the regime. The Americans will have to work with them to re-establish the water, the electricity. Even the politicians in Washington and London want that to happen.

HMS Ark Royal :: Matthew Price :: 0802GMT

A wreath has been laid in the Arabian Gulf to honour a British serviceman killed in action. Lieutenant Mark Lawrence was among seven who died when two Royal Navy Sea King helicopters collided while flying missions close to southern Iraq, and is the only crew member whose body has not been recovered.

The ship's band, of which Mark Lawrence was a member, played in tribute. The Last Post was sounded. And then a wreath was passed along the line of 849 Squadron, the last two members looking at it for a few moments before casting it onto the sea at the exact spot where the two helicopters crashed.

Then crew members gathered to read a plaque in commemoration of Lieutenant Mark Lawrence - words chosen by his parents and his fiancée: "At peace with God, the sea was your friend, let the waves be your blanket."

Northern Iraq :: Dumeetha Luthra :: 0745GMT

US special forces along with Kurdish militia are slowly advancing towards Kirkuk. Coalition troops are now less than four kilometres from the city. According to one commander they're encircling Kirkuk and have cut off the road between the strategic city and Saddam Hussein's home town of Tikrit.

The commander here explained that he has been able to glean some news from defectors and people leaving Kirkuk. Through them, a picture emerges of a city still very much in regime hands.

The commander says that 40 Iraqi soldiers tried to defect yesterday, but were stopped by Baath Party patrols. He said that the soldiers in the bunkers have no radio communications and so have no idea what is going on in the rest of the country.

Northern Iraq :: John Simpson :: 0724GMT

I'm about 80 miles north of Baghdad now with Kurdish forces. They are facing fierce resistance from Iraqi forces - regular forces, I think, not Republican Guard. The Kurdish commander has said they are fighting like devils.

It could be because the Iraqi soldiers have had months of propaganda about how the Kurds will cut their throats if they capture them.

Actually, when I've seen the Iraqi prisoners in Kurdish hands they've been treated perfectly reasonably. I think the Kurds have a certain amount of sympathy for them, and that increases as Saddam falls.

Baghdad :: Andrew Gilligan :: 0655GMT

The problem now is the looting and anarchy that's starting to bite.

Baghdad last night was a city without law, order or electricity. Intermittent small arms fire was heard as people fought off robbers from their barricaded homes.

The Americans are still, for the moment, too few to fill the vacuum. The disorder has not yet become a serious threat to their control.

Baghdad :: Gavin Hewitt :: 0639GMT

I'm just across the Euphrates on the west side of the city with the 3rd Infantry Division. There continues to be quite a lot of fighting here. It began at four o'clock this morning, quite close to the river.

There is no question that on the west side of the city, some Iraqis are continuing to put up a fight. And there certainly haven't been anything like the celebrations that there were on the east side of the city yesterday.

One of the things that staggered the commanders is the amount of ammunition lying around on the streets. It's as if the Republican Guard came up with the idea of dumping ammunition block after block, so if they had to move, there would be ammunition waiting for them.

The explosion I've just heard was probably soldiers blowing up ammunition. A lot of this is in residential areas, which is why people stay locked in their houses - coming onto the streets is a very risky business.

CentCom, Qatar :: Dominic Hughes :: 0616GMT

The focus of the war is shifting to the north of Baghdad. Warplanes have been striking Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's home town. We've also heard of movements to Mosul and Kirkuk.

Operations are slower than the rapid advance up from the south, and the forces in the north will be bolstered. We've heard that around 2500 extra troops will be joining them.

Baghdad :: Paul Wood :: 0609GMT

We don't know where Saddam is. We have heard the sound of artillery this morning, so clearly something is going on. It would be fascinating if the former President was in that mosque on the Tigris.

But in one sense it's irrelevant as he's no longer seen as their leader. The Americans pretty much control the city, there are just mopping up operations going on. The military phase is almost over.

Baghdad :: David Willis :: 0554GMT

US marines are engaged in fierce fighting on the banks of Iraq's Tigris River. They've surrounded a mosque where it's rumoured Saddam Hussein may be holed up.

As dawn was breaking, a convoy of marines and US special forces turned into a wide road leading to one of the presidential palaces. They encountered heavy resistance, it's thought, from members of the special Republican Guard, Saddam Hussein's most loyal forces.

For almost half an hour, we heard nothing but gunfire. The noise was deafening as the convoy came under fire from machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

The marines responded vigorously, but one of them was hit by shrapnel and died.

Having secured the area around the presidential palace, the order came through to search a mosque where it's thought Saddam Hussein may be hiding.

Again, fierce fighting accompanied the marines survival. Thick black smoke now hangs over the Tigris, and a search of the mosque is currently under way.

Basra :: Clive Myrie :: 0542GMT

The looting seems to have quietened down a bit. We did have sporadic incidences of violence yesterday.

The British forces are still saying they are unwilling to intervene because they still have to deal with the core security situation here - they have to look out for pockets of possible resistance, Fedayeen fighters, Iraqi militia and that sort of thing, so they cannot turn their attentions to policing.

There have been talks over the last couple of days with clerics here, but remember Basra is 70% Shia, but within that group there are different factions with allegiances to different clerics, so the British have to be very careful about whom they get on board to run any administration.

Baghdad :: Andrew Gilligan :: 0530GMT

It's still pretty restrained here today - the euphoria of yesterday hasn't been repeated yet. I drove round the city centre as the statue was being toppled yesterday, and mostly people are reserving judgement, it's mostly the Shia areas that are celebrating.

But there's no question people are glad to see the end of the regime.

One of my close Iraqi friends went up to an American marine and said to him: "I'm going to exercise my right of free speech for the first time in my life - we want you out of here as soon as possible."

Baghdad :: Paul Wood :: 0521GMT

We've just learned from the US marines that the US flag that was put on the face of Saddam yesterday - it was replaced by an Iraqi flag when the people shouted for that - was the flag that was flying over the Pentagon on September 11.

For a lot of the American marines, they think this war is all about defeating terrorism, they will tell you that over and over again. There is also a connection in the minds of the American public between the regime of Saddam and what happened on September 11, and apparently the flag that was draped over this face was flying over the pentagon when the plane crashed into it.

Shanghai :: Francis Markus :: 0349GMT

In China, which has all along opposed the war, US troops' entry into Baghdad has been reported in a cautiously balanced way.

Images of the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue have been carefully edited, to avoid giving emphasis to the idea of regime change, which is abhorrent to the country's governing Communist Party, and, it has to be said, to many ordinary Chinese.

In the newspapers, it's a similar story. What photographs there are of the statue's demise are on the inside pages.

The association the authorities keenly want to avoid is that if statues of Saddam Hussein can teeter and fall, so can those of the late Chairman Mao.

Washington D.C. :: Nick Childs :: 0323GMT

There may be a slight shift towards optimism and away from caution in the Pentagon, but the public warnings that the fight in Iraq isn't over are being repeated by officials in private as well.

Still, there's also no hiding the sense of satisfaction and vindication about events so far. Officials say the progress up to now has been the result of a combination of surveillance, air power and ground forces that has worked better than in any previous conflict.

Sydney :: Phil Mercer :: 0250GMT

Iraqis living in Australia have expressed relief that Saddam Hussein has been deposed. One community leader said his country would soon be facing another long struggle to convince the Americans to withdraw and to hand back power to the Iraqi people as a matter of urgency.

Australia has been the third military force in the Gulf campaign behind the US and UK. Two thousand personnel, including crews on board three warships, more than a dozen Hornet fighter jets and units from the special forces, have been part of the US-led invasion.

There have been no Australian combat casualties, which has helped turn public opinion firmly in favour of military action in the last couple of weeks.

London :: Keith Adams :: 0030GMT

The military focus is now turning north of the capital.

Particular attention is being paid to Tikrit - Saddam Hussein's home town, with American air strikes pounding military targets there.

There has been speculation that the battle for Tikrit would be Saddam Hussein's last stand. Well, movements on the ground suggest it just might.

Kurdish and Shia opposition sources say they believe the Iraqi president is already there.

The Sunni Muslims who are based in Tikrit have the most to lose from the removal of the regime - and therefore the most to fight for.

CentCom, Qatar :: Malcolm Brabant :: 0010GMT

The problem of law and order in Baghdad is now quite a substantial one. The US forces are going to be coming under pressure from the aid agencies to make sure that law and order is firmly established, because otherwise those desperately-needed convoys of food and water aren't going to be able to get in.

They want to make sure that the sort of blood-letting which is quite possible doesn't happen.

There are the Shias for example in Baghdad who might like to exact some sort of revenge.

The last thing the Americans want to see is see is internecine fighting between Sunnis who were part of the power structure, and Shia who were oppressed under the Saddam regime.

Reporters with the US and British military are restricted in what they can say about precise locations or military plans.

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