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Baghdad Rocked by More Bombing - 2003-03-30


Baghdad Sunday was rocked by more missile and bomb explosions, as coalition forces pounded targets in the capital and other Iraqi cities. Coalition forces have also discovered bodies believed to be those of U.S. Marines who were ambushed last week near the central city of Nasiriyah.

Black smoke billowed from several targets in the Iraqi capital Sunday morning, the 11th day of the war on Iraq, as coalition forces continued the air-campaign to weaken Iraqi military defenses. Central command officials said their forces struck a military command center near Baghdad's international airport and an intelligence facility on the banks of the Tigris River.

British officials said their forces fired on Iraqi paramilitary troops in the southern city of Basra.

Coalition forces in the south-central city of Nasiriyah discovered human remains in a shallow grave, as well as uniforms and equipment believed to belong to at least some of a group of U.S. Marines who disappeared last week after coming under attack.

Four U.S. Marines were killed Saturday, when an Iraqi officer in civilian clothes detonated a car bomb at their post near the city of Najaf.

Correspondent Alisha Ryu, who is traveling with U.S. forces in central Iraq, said the attack set a new precedent in the war on Iraq. "This is the first time that there has been a car-bombing, and a suicide car-bombing at that. Previous incidents have all been very limited to pickup trucks that have been harassing U.S. soldiers, gun-mounted pickup trucks, those kinds of situations with small arms fire," she said.

Iraqi Vice President Taha Yasin Ramadan said the suicide attacks would continue.

Coalition officers in central Iraq say they have been ordered to pause their advance on Baghdad in order to allow central commanders time to deploy reinforcements and secure supply lines.

However, the command's director of operations, Major-General Gene Renuart, said there has been no pause in the overall offensive. "I don't believe there is any intent to pause on the battlefield," he said. "We will continue to focus our operations. Sometimes they will be focused in the west, sometimes on the north, sometimes on the south, sometimes all together."

In northern Iraq, Kurdish forces reinforced positions taken north of Kirkuk, following the withdrawal of Iraqi forces there.

Protests against the war on Iraq, meanwhile, were held Sunday in Indonesia and China, and in several European countries on Saturday.

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