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Air War Intensifies As Skies Clear - 2003-03-28

After a huge sandstorm hampered operations earlier this week, the clearing weather in Iraq opened the door to full scale air and ground attacks, described as some of the most intense since the war began. Amy Katz has details on the air war.

Tomahawk missiles struck the center of Baghdad early Friday as the military campaign to disarm Iraq intensified. Brigadier General Vincent Brooks, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, says the Friday air strikes hit Iraqi Command and Control Facilities.

“In the past 24 hours, we continued to combat operations against regime forces, conducted strikes against regime command and control, and took major steps forward in setting the foundation for the future of Iraq.”

U.S. officials say a B-2 bomber dropped two so-called “bunker buster” bombs, each weighing more than 2,000 kilograms to destroy this Iraqi communications facility. Government buildings and Republican Guard positions were among the other targets hit by coalition forces Friday.

At a Central Command Briefing in Doha, Qatar Friday, General Brooks showed reporters examples of U.S. air attacks, this on an Iraqi missile launcher.

He also showed before and after pictures of an attack on an Iraqi military barracks.

“Each attack like this against a military target removes one option from the regime.”

One U.S. missile struck a Baghdad office of Iraq’s ruling Baath Party. Witnesses said eight people were killed and at least five more were wounded.

Iraq’s Information Minister, Mohammed al-Sahaf, said Friday’s coalition bombing had killed 75 civilians and injured numerous others across Iraq in just the past day. Those casualty figures have not been confirmed.