U.S. forces say they have destroyed a key division of Iraq's Republican Guard and that two others engaged in heavy fighting with American troops are in trouble.
A senior U.S. Central Command official, Brigadier General Vince Brooks, says U.S. forces have destroyed the Republican Guard's Baghdad division near the town of Kut, 170 kilometers southeast of the Iraqi capital.
"The Baghdad Division has been destroyed," he said.
General Brooks, briefing reporters at Central Command headquarters in Qatar, said U.S. forces are also fighting two other elite Republican Guard units, the Medina and Nebuchadnezzar divisions, around the town of Karbala, 80 kilometers southwest of Baghdad.
"First, they're in trouble. Two, they're under serious attack right now, and those attacks will continue until we're finished with the task at hand," General Brooks said.
The eroding of Republican Guard strength, believed already debilitated by air and artillery attacks, is a key objective of the U.S.-led coalition as its drive toward Baghdad goes into high gear.