US forces are drawing closer to Baghdad, with senior defense officials warning of possible tough fighting ahead.
Pentagon officials say they have weakened the Iraqi Republican Guard units on the southern approach to Baghdad.
But those Iraqi units are receiving some reinforcements. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, during a visit to Congress, warns there could be difficulties ahead for American troops.
"The Republican Guard that pretty much ring Baghdad at the present time will probably represent some difficult days ahead and dangerous days ahead in terms of fighting," he said.
At the Pentagon, a similar warning was issued by from Major General Stanley McChrystal of the military's Joint Staff. "We are not expecting to drive into Baghdad suddenly and seize it," he said.
Coalition aircraft are pounding critical targets in and around Baghdad. Military officials say one of the latest is what they call a heavily-guarded storage facility for military and security supplies for the Iraqi regime that was hit with nearly 40 precision-guided munitions. No details on what was inside.