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  US tanks storm into central Baghdad
Updated 07 April 2003, 13.03
Coalition tanks move along a road next to the Tigris River
US forces in tanks have started to attack central areas of Baghdad.

Around 100 armoured vehicles have stormed into the capital, supported by planes, in what's being called a "show of force" by the US military.

But they're stressing that even though this attack's bigger and more important, it is not necessarily the "battle for Baghdad".

Palace

A BBC journalist there said he could see the tanks and thick black smoke from where he was, right "in the very heart of Baghdad".

Iraqi soldiers leave their firing positions
Iraqi soldiers leave their firing positions

At the same time, very loud explosions have been heard from the direction of one of Saddam Hussein's presidential palaces.

One US colonel has told reporters some of his men are searching important government buildings and control one of the main palaces.

Troops have faced some fighting back in the city, but many Iraqi soldiers have been seen leaving their firing positions and taking off uniforms.

Surrounded

US troops raided the city on Saturday.

Commanders say they now have most of the city surrounded. This means Iraqi soldiers will find it hard to move in or out of Baghdad because important roads are blocked.

The city was bombed overnight, but the heaviest attacks started at dawn.

The Red Cross who are working there say they are finding it hard to cope and keep a count of all the injured who are arriving for treatment.

Other main points:

  • Three British soldiers have died during the attacks on Basra
  • Iraqi state TV has quoted Saddam Hussein as saying anyone who destroys a coalition tank, armoured vehicle or artillery will get an $8,000 (5,000) reward
  • US President George W Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair are meeting to talk about how the war's going, in Northern Ireland on Monday
  • UK forces say they have secured "large parts" of Iraq's second city, Basra, after entering the city early on Sunday
  • Kurdish fighters and US forces are getting closer to the two main Iraqi cities in the north - Mosul and Kirkuk - where a "friendly-fire" incident on Sunday killed 15 people and injured 45.


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