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  8,000 Iraqi soldiers in 'mass surrender'
Updated 22 March 2003, 12.36
US Marines with Iraqi soldiers who surrendered near Az Bayer on Friday
Around 8,000 Iraqi soldiers have surrendered to US and UK forces, it's been reported.

Both British and American officials say the mass surrender has taken place in the south of the country, and that they now have thousands of prisoners of war from Iraq's 51st Infantry Division.

But Iraqi officials denied the development and insisted their senior officers would never surrender.

Air campaign

There's been reported fighting in the south of Iraq as coalition ground troops head for the city of Basra, and towards Baghdad.

The capital city was bombarded with hundreds of bombs and missiles overnight on Friday and on Saturday morning, as the US launched its massive air campaign.

US and UK forces are hoping to capture Basra, the second largest city in Iraq, before they move on to Baghdad.

Other major updates:

  • Seven UK crew members are reported missing after two Royal Navy Sea King helicopters collided over the Gulf on Saturday. Officials say the crash was not caused by enemy action
  • Iraqi officials say 207 members of the public were killed in the overnight raids on Baghdad
  • A presidential palace was hit and badly damaged during the attacks on Baghdad
  • Turkey sent more than 1,000 troops into northern Iraq, saying it needs to protect its own national security. But the move is against US wishes

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