U.S. troops are on the outskirts of Baghdad, preparing for a battle to take control of the city’s airport. American soldiers say they have met little resistance on the way to the capital.
“We did an assault crossing two bridges against a defending enemy. We defeated him in detail and took no casualties.”
Brigadier General Vincent Brooks says the Iraqi regime is losing control.
BRIGADIER GENERAL VINCENT BROOKS, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND
“The coalition attacks against the regime remain effective throughout the country and there is increasing evidence that the regime cannot control its forces or the Iraqi population in most of the country.”
But in contrast, Iraqi TV continues to broadcast images of Iraqi soldiers defending the country. Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf says coalition forces are on the move, but control no Iraqi city or town.
MOHAMMED SAEED AL-SAHAF, INFORMATION MINISTER
“They are not near Baghdad. Don’t believe them. They are trapped everywhere in the country. They are trapped in Umm Qasr. They are trapped near Basra. They are trapped near Nasiriyah. They are trapped near Najaf. They are trapped everywhere.”
Iraq says it shot down an American F/A 18-fighter jet in Karbala. VOA correspondent Alisha Ryu is with an Army unit searching for the pilot.
VOA CORRESPONDENT ALISHA RYU
“It’s a very, very heavily armored patrol that we go on. We’re flanked by several Bradley fighting vehicles, there’s an M1-A1 tank here, and we obviously have gun-mounted Hum-Vees that cover the flanks. We have armored Hum-Vees. And so far we have seen very, very little sign of life.”
Also near Karbala, the U.S. military says a Black Hawk helicopter crashed killing six people.
Meanwhile, U.S. Special Forces raided one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces outside of Baghdad. No Iraqi leaders were there but soldiers did seize documents.
In northern Iraq, Iraqi Kurdish fighters, backed by a small group of American soldiers, have advanced toward the city of Mosul. At the same time, U.S. warplanes bombard Iraqi army positions. Iraq has warned Kurds against helping U.S.-led coalition forces in the war.