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Breakfast Thursday, 20 March, 2003, 05:58 GMT
It's war
Iraq showing bomb blast
The dawn attack may have been aimed at Saddam
The long anticipated war to topple Saddam Hussain has begun, with a series of air attacks on Baghdad.

It seems the raids may not have been the huge "shock and awe" attacks which the Pentagon had planned. But they may have been an attempt to "take out" the Iraqi leadership when an opportunity presented itself.
Key Maps
Detailed maps of Iraq

  • This morning, in a specially extended programme, Breakfast brought you all the latest developments from around the world.

    We reported live from Baghdad, from Northern Iraq and from British forward positions in Northern Kuwait.

  • Breakfast spoke to the Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon about the first night of attacks

    He said the British Government weren't surprised by the attack. "We were fully informed and involved in the process."

    Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon
    "Fully informed and involved"
    Mr Hoon denied that the UK's contribution was only important diplomatically, rather than militarily.

    He said the strikes are part of a wider campaign which will get underway very shortly.

    "British forces are ready.

    "I have seen the excellence of their preparations and it's fair to say, they are ready to go," he told us.


  • We spoke to Simon Turner, a former RAF pilot, who has previously flown missions in Iraq's no-fly zone.

    "At the time of any mission, the guys are focused on the targets and getting the weapons in the right place at the right time," he told us.

    "The more proficient they are in hitting the target, the less they're likely to do collateral damage."


  • And we heard from Jo Spear from the War Studies department at Kings College.

    She's in no doubt that the man who appeared on TV immediately after the attacks was Saddam Hussein, because he appeared older and more jowly than some of his doubles.

    "This isn't the shock and awe attack we were expecting," she told us. "It could have been an audacious attempt to deal with the problem in Iraq, which is the leadership not the people,"


  • We spoke to the man who was Defence Secretary during the 1991 Gulf war, Lord King.

    "You are now going to see the hunt for Saddam Hussein," he predicted.

    "I expect weapons of mass destruction to be found which have been concealed all this time. He said there would be a hunt for Saddam and this would be helped by advances in technology compared with 1991.
    Lord King
    "Well respected" special forces

    Saddam escaped during the last Gulf war but he said the US and UK forces would react to any intelligence.

    Lord King also said that an air campaign was likely to be shorter than last time, meanwhile our special forces are well respected and make a special contribution.


  • The Conservative Party gave its reaction to events. We heard from Michael Ancram who is the shadow Foreign Secretary

    He said he thought the first move would be a surprise move against command and control targets.

    The attacks have given a clear warning to Saddam Hussein and those around him that they are targets and will be pursued.

    He added "We support Mr Blair because he is acting in the national interest and as long as he is we support him... it is necessary to eliminate Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction"


  • The families back home

    The families of those serving in the Gulf are following events closely back home. We sent Yvonne Ndege to meet one family in Shrewsbury, who've been watching Breakfast closely for the past few weeks.


  • Public opinion in Britain

    Has opinion changed, now that the war is underway? We sent Graham Satchell to test public opinion in Manchester, where he found that views are still polarised.


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