Volume 96, Issue 91
Friday, March 21, 2003

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Troops enter Iraq

WASHINGTON (CP) – United States and British troops punched across the Kuwait-Iraq border yesterday, meeting minimal Iraqi resistance as they rumbled past flaming oil fields on their way north. These skirmishes signalled the spearhead of the immense ground invasion of Iraq had started to knife its way through the desert destined for Baghdad.

U.S. forces also launched precision strikes, using cruise missiles, on

Baghdad Thursday, leaving the Ministry of Planning in flames, as well as targeting the Presidential Palace. War planners in the Pentagon assured reporters this wasn't the beginning of the "shock-and-awe" campaign. That didn't prevent them from heavily advertising the campaign as a pending onslaught of unprecedented ferocity.

"It will be of a force and scope and scale that has been beyond what has been seen before," Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld said.

Earth-shaking explosions boomed through Iraq's capital, reducing several government buildings to flaming hulks. Iraqi forces showed no initial signs of collapse. In fact, they sent a volley of their own missiles over the heads of U.S. soldiers poised to strike in northern Kuwait.

Iraqi television reported 72 missiles have hit Baghdad and four Iraqi soldiers have been killed since U.S. air strikes began. The International Red Cross said one civilian was killed and 14 injured.

The start of the attack on Iraq was greeted by a wave of street protests in Europe and Arab countries. In one instance, Egyptian riot police used water cannons and batons to beat back crowds throwing rocks and trying to advance on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

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2002 THE GAZETTE