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U.S. Says it Makes Progress in War Against Iraq


President Bush says there is progress in the war to disarm Iraq.

“We’re making progress. We will stay on task until we’ve achieved our objective, which is to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and free the Iraqi people so they can live in a society that is hopeful and democratic and at peace in its neighborhood.”

Mr. Bush made the comment at a meeting with Congressional leaders at the White House Friday. He thanked the lawmakers for their unified support of the U.S. led operation against Iraq. In its second day Friday, Operation Iraqi Freedom entered a new phase. Baghdad came under heavy air attack, the “shock and awe” bombardment the Pentagon had said would happen.

Earlier, U.S. and British forces seized territory in southern and western Iraq. Coalition forces also continued to move across the desert toward the Iraqi capital.

Other forces seized the port of Umm Qasr and secured the strategic Faw Peninsula on the Persian Gulf, and its oil wells.

Coalition troops battled for control of Iraq’s second largest city, Basra, as well. Troops also continued to report meeting pockets of resistance.

Air raid sirens sounded in Kuwait Friday, where officials said a Patriot missile shot down an incoming Iraqi rocket.

Iraqi troops could also be seen surrendering to coalition forces, which the British military says they are doing in large numbers.

In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said the liberation of Iraq is underway.

“We want to do it in a way that will demonstrate to the world that we come as liberators, that we’re going to put in place a better life for the people of Iraq, a representative form of government.”

Secretary Powell also said the U.S. plans to use Iraqi assets – oil in particular – to benefit the Iraqi people.