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US Continues Attacks on Iraqi Republican Guard Units - 2003-03-31

The U.S. military says it will continue to attack units of Iraq's elite Republican Guard that are defending Baghdad and its perimeter. Allied forces say they are focusing on targets, like the Republican Guard, that are identified with the regime of Saddam Hussein.

U.S. Brigadier General Vincent Brooks, the deputy director of operations for U.S. Central Command, vowed Monday to press on with attacks against Republican Guard units defending the Iraqi capital. General Brooks says some of those units are already in serious difficulty.

"Our efforts are going to [be] on the regime," he said. "We've made that clear. Where the regime is, we're coming."

General Brooks confirmed that U.S. airborne troops had engaged Republican Guard units south of Baghdad in the past 24 hours. He says it was neither the first time nor the last time that there has been what he called contact between the two forces.

The Republican Guards, believed to be fiercely loyal to Saddam Hussein and a more effective fighting force than the regular Iraqi army, is only one of the regime-connected targets on which the U.S. military is concentrating.

General Brooks also mentioned the ruling Baath party, Iraq's command, control and communications systems, death squads and paramilitaries as primary targets.