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Another Decapitation Strike, More on Operations in Basra and in the North - 2003-04-09

There’s still no word if Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has survived another attempt on his life by the U.S. military. This comes as coalition forces continue meeting pockets of Iraqi resistance throughout Baghdad. Robert Raffaele has the latest on the war.

U.S. forces pushed further into Baghdad Tuesday, following another day of air strikes. U.S. officials ordered a strike involving precision-guided bombs known as ‘bunker busters’, on one building in the Mansour residential district. The building was targeted after intelligence officials suspected Saddam Hussein and his two sons might be inside.

At a joint news conference with British prime Minster Tony Blair in Northern Ireland,U.S. President George W. Bush said he was not sure if Saddam was killed, but was convinced the Iraqi leader is losing power.

“So the only thing I can tell you is that the grip I used to describe that Saddam had around the throats of the Iraqi people are loosening. I can’t tell you if all 10 fingers are off the throat, but finger by finger’s coming off. And the people are beginning to realize that.”

Several houses were damaged or destroyed in the attack. There are reports that at least nine people are dead. A number of civilian casualties were taken to the Al Kinda Hospital, some arriving by ambulance and others in private cars.

Battles continued throughout Baghdad Tuesday, with reports of Iraqis armed with rockets and rifles putting up resistance.

To the South in Basra, British troops patrolled the streets in armored personnel carriers and tanks. Troops also tried to maintain order at the Sheraton Hotel, the scene of heavy looting Monday. Crowds reportedly took away tables, chairs, and even a grand piano. British officials Tuesday announced they had appointed a local tribal chief to be the new civilian leader of Basra.

In the Kurdish-controlled region of northern Iraq, U.S. Black Hawk helicopters were deployed to an airstrip near the town of Harir. This came as U.S warplanes bombed Iraqi positions in the oil-rich area of Kirkuk.

U.S. soldiers have also set up checkpoints in the frontline area between Iraqi government troops and pro U.S. Peshmerga soldiers. Cars were stopped and several Iraqi soldiers were captured.