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Breakfast Friday, 21 March, 2003, 06:18 GMT
Attacks on Iraq intensify
Royal Marines operating in Southern Iraq
Royal Marines operating in Southern Iraq
Iraq is under attack by land, sea and air. Thousands of British and American troops have entered the south of the country from Kuwait.

And news overnight of the first coalition casualties. American military officials say eight British and four US service personnel have died after their helicopter crashed.

The C.H. 46 sea knight transport helicopter went down in an area of operations in northern Kuwait. The cause of the crash is being investigated.

  • Breakfast had the latest reports some of which you can see by clicking on the links below

    Key Maps

    The attack in the south began with heavy artillery barrages and air raids on Iraqi positions.

    Hundreds of Royal Marine commandoes launched attacks by land and sea to capture the Al Faw Peninsula.

    Our correspondent Clive Myrie is with the Royal Marines of 40 Commando who are operating near an oil field in Al-Faw Southern Iraq.


    There are reports that the important port of Umm Qasr is about to fall although the Iraqis deny this.

    There have also been reports of explosions in the key cities of Basra in the south and Mosul in the north .

    Several oil wells in the south are reported to have been set ablaze. British commanders are expected to give more details of the military operation on Friday morning.

    Our correspondent Caroline Wyatt is with the coalition forces in Kuwait. She confirmed the Sea Knight Helicopter - which is American built had crashed south of the Iraqi border.

    She said it appears that it was an accident.

    Caroline also confirmed that 3 Commando Brigade had been sent to secure oil manifolds in southern Iraq saying it was crucial that they were protected.


    Air Marshal Sir Tim Garden
    Operations will continue despite crash
    We also heard from former Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff Sir Tim Garden about the military strategy.

    He said the loss of the helicopter wouldn't be a setback and that enemy action was not likely to be the cause of the crash - it is a very difficult decision to ground all the aircraft but this was very unlikely to happen.


    And our reporter Luisa Baldini is in Jordan from where she sent a report about Iraqi exiles.


    Colonel Gordon Messenger
    Operation to secure oil installations
    We also heard from Colonel Gordon Messenger from the Royal Marines who were engaged in the Al-Faw area of Southern Iraq.

    He said there function had been to secure Iraqi oil installations in Southern Iraq to prevent an environmental disaster. He said there was a serious fear of pollution and that's why this operation had happened early in the campaign.


    Confirmation of the number of British troops killed in the helicopter crash came from Group Captain Al Lockwood the British forces spokesman.


    The leader of the opposition gave his reaction to Breakfast. You can see our interview with Iain Duncan Smith by clicking on the link below.


    And the Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon spoke to Breakfast, he offered his sympathy to families of those killed in the helicopter crash.


    Rageh Omaar in Baghdad
    Heart of Baghdad hit
    The BBC's Rageh Omaar is in Baghdad where his movements are restricted. He said bombs had struck the heart of Baghdad and that buildings around the Planning Ministry were ripped apart.

    You can see his report by clicking on the link below.


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