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  Civilian uprising reported in Basra
Updated 25 March 2003, 21.44
Fighting in Basra
Top British military officials have said Iraqi people in the city of Basra may be fighting against Iraqi soldiers there.


Major General Peter Wall said it was early stages yet and reports were just coming through.

But he suggested UK troops would make sure they'd help if there was a rebellion.

UK forces have been fighting against Iraqi soldiers around Basra for some days now. On Tuesday evening, it was confirmed two British soldiers were killed in a "friendly fire" incident during the fighting.

Shias' uprising

It's thought the rebellion's might have come from Shia Iraqis in Basra who have started to support coalition forces and fire at Iraqi soldiers.

It's said to have started when Iraqi soldiers tried to stop the civilians from attacking them.

Many Shias are against Saddam Hussein and his Baath Party, who are Sunni Iraqis.

The Iraqi Information Minister said there was no such rebellion.

Water supplies

The United Nations is worried about Basra. The city is the size of Glasgow, with 1.5 million people living there.

Fighting has meant water supplies have been unreliable and the UN reckon about 100,000 children are in danger of disease if they don't get clean water soon.

Red Cross engineers are trying to fix supplies.

And as soon as mines are cleared in the port of Umm Qasr, ships full of aid will be able to dock.

Other main points:

  • Fresh bombing heard in Baghdad

  • Bad sandstorms are delaying coalition troops from moving quickly south of Baghdad

  • US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says coalition forces have taken over 3,500 Iraqi prisoners.

  • The port of Umm Qasr has been made "safe" and is being cleared of mines so aid ships can dock safely.



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