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  Fighting in key town Samawah
Updated 27 March 2003, 17.27

UK and US forces have been involved in three big fights in Iraq, against soldiers fighting much harder than they expected.

One of these battles is in in the important southern town of Samawah.

US troops and as many as 1,500 Fedayeen - soldiers who are very loyal to Saddam - have fought a battle for the town.

Samawah is very important to the coalition because it has a bridge which crosses the river Euphrates.

A child sits in front of a tank in Basra
A child sits in front of a tank in Basra

The coalition need this to help them get supplies to their troops who are approaching the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

Their plan is to take Baghdad, which would cause all the other Iraqi forces to give in.

But Iraqis who support Saddam are holding this up by fighting small battles in towns on the way to Baghdad.

Fighting in southern Iraq

Fighting is also still taking place in the south of Iraq. 14 Iraqi tanks and armoured vehicles were destroyed outside the city of Basra by UK forces.

Apparently they were trying to escape to the north, and British Challenger tanks fired on them.

There are also reports that oil wells in Ramalla have been set on fire, which might cause an environmental disaster.

Other key developments:

  • 1,000 US troops parachute into northern Iraq
  • A ship carrying food, water and blankets fails to dock in Iraq after the discovery of a mine in the water
  • The US military plans to step up operations now that the sandstorms have cleared


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