Baghdad: Saddam’s Regime Crumbles
A convoy of U.S.
3rd Infantry Division troops made their first run into Baghdad two
days ago, and today in broad daylight they took control of at least
two of Saddam Hussein’s ornate palaces. One palace, known as the "new"
palace, was shown subdued on live television with U.S. tanks parked
in formidable positions in front with U.S. soldiers in control of
Reporter Greg Kelly speaks with a soldier
of the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division via video-phone after Saddam’s
"New" palace is secured by U.S. troops.
Nearly 100 U.S. tanks and
60 Bradley fighting vehicles had rolled into Baghdad early Monday
with A-10 Warthog planes providing close air support cover. U.S.
forces on the ground are still battling fierce resistance from what
may be the Fedaydeen Saddam irregular fighters inside Baghdad and
on the outskirts of the city. However, coalition check points now
surround the city of Baghdad.
with FOX News Greg Kelly and cameraman Malcom James showed live
images of U.S. forces in front of the "new" palace, carrying
an American flag and displayed a flag from the University of Georgia
(The Bulldogs won this year’s SugarBowl). Kelly said he had entered
the palace and described a very "ornate" building with
marble floors, gold chandeliers, and running water from gold faucets.
A colonel with
the 3rd ID outside the palace said that their victory is a testament
to the fortitude of the "American soldier". U.S. tanks
were also shown on the infamous parade grounds where they destroyed
a large statute of Saddam on a horse and cheered victory as the
total defeat of the brutal Iraqi dictator’s regime increases with
each moment. British troops have also been destroying statutes of
Saddam around Iraq.
Saddam’s Republican Guard and other fighters have been taken out
of play in the past couple of weeks. The Saddam Canal was breeched
recently when U.S. Marines built a bridge across it in just about
two hours. The Saddam International airport has been renamed by
U.S. forces as "Baghdad International Airport."
Iraqis cheer in the street, it has been reported that soldiers have
found some shrines made by die-hard Saddam supporters in various
places to their leader. One war correspondent came across what looked
like an alter made to Saddam.
At a heavily
barricaded site that was filled with supplies and uniforms that
had been abandoned, it was found that also left behind was a single
picture of Saddam on the wall and several pictures were painted
of a skull and crossbones on doors.
throughout Iraq have found stashes of chemical protective suits.
Late Monday afternoon in Iraq, a U.S. official announced that they
may have found a large weapons of mass destruction facility in central
Iraq in the town of Hinbiya.
Ali" and Iraqi Intelligence Leader Killed
Jackson with the British forces said the body of "Chemical
Ali" is believed to have been found in Basra. Ali Hassan al-Majid,
known as ‘Chemical Ali’ is the cousin of Saddam Hussein and was
responsible for the poison gas murders of thousands of people including
Iraqi Kurds. Officials believe he and his entourage were killed
during U.S. bombings on his villa.
A former UN
inspector said that Chemical Ali has been greatly feared throughout
Iraq and that he played a critical part in oppressing the will of
the Iraqi people .
Many have feared
retribution from him if they were to attempt to defect or otherwise
oppose the regime. The Kurdish people had been especially fearful
of him. Also reportedly found with Ali’s body were the head of Iraqi
Intelligence Services and Chemical Ali’s body guards. Confirmation
of this report was also given to Reuters by British Major General
Peter Wall, "We suspect he (Ali Hassan al-Majid) probably was
killed in that strike."
The death of
an Iraqi Intelligence leader is significant since counter-terror
experts have believed that Iraq was at the core of terror support
to terror networks and operations around the world. Saddam Hussein
had openly praised the 9-11 attacks against the U.S. and pays the
families of Palestinian terrorists tens of thousands of dollars
to carry out homicide attacks. An Iraqi Intelligence agent was caught
by another country’s intelligence agents meeting with and giving
intelligence to terrorist Mohammad Atta to assist him in the attack
against America on September 11th.
Syrian and Egyptian foreign fighters that reportedly have been trained
in terror camps have been fighting along side the Fedaydeen Saddam
against the Coalition forces. The Coalition forces have said they
continue to face and defeat the unusual resistance and attacks in
Iraq that the foreign fighters pose.
"there is still a linkage
clearly between this regime and terrorism…"
U.S. Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks was asked about Salman
Pak, the terrorist training camp found over the weekend, and said
"there are a number of nations that were involved. I don’t
know all of them. I know that we had some from Egypt, some from
Sudan, in people that we captured." Those captured have made
"inferences to the type of training they received — all these
things give us the impression that there is terrorist training that
was conducted at Salman Pak."
Coalition forces found a burned out passenger bus
and the shell of a passenger jet at the terrorist training camp.
Brooks said, "We also found some other things there…We destroyed
the complex. All of that, when you roll it together, their reports
where they’re from, why they might be here, tell us that there is
still a linkage clearly between this regime and terrorism, and it’s
something we want to make sure we break. "
Forces Reassure Iraqis in Basra – Coalition Pushes Forward
The British forces were cheered on Monday by Iraqi
men, women, and children as they continued their work in Basra–the
second largest city in Iraq. British paratroopers landed earlier
Monday and British forces pushed to the center of Basra with a force
of tanks and armored vehicles and aerial support.
Capt. Al Lockwood, spokesman for British forces
told reporters that their efforts are there to "reassure the
people of Basra that we’re there and we’re coming to liberate the
British reporter David Bowden in Basra toured another
one of Saddam’s palaces, this one as ornate and opulent in riches
as the others. Marble floors and intricately etched wood was seen
throughout the palace, as well as elaborate stained glass, and gold
faucets that Bowden says "may very well be the real Mc Coy"–solid
U.S. tanks pass by the banks of the Tigris
river as they roll into Baghdad, outside Saddam Hussein’s
presidential palace, Monday April 7, 2003. Coalition soldiers
took over key bulidings Monday, as gunfire and explosions
thundered in many parts of the battered Iraqi capital.
Delay / AP
Forces Continue to hammer resistance from foreign Fighters
forces continue to fight the so-called suicide bombers who are fighting
with the Fedaydeen Saddam and foreign fighters.
"since the coalition’s entry to Iraq, coalition
forces have been focused on the objectives of the campaign."
said BRIG. GEN. VINCENT BROOKS of CENTCOM on Sunday at a briefing.
"We’re in the 17th day, and the outcome remains
beyond doubt. With each day that passes, the coalition force grows
stronger and more damages are inflicted upon the regime and its
supporting agents, and with each day that passes, more Iraqis are
"Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out
to the family members of those of our fallen comrades who have paid
the ultimate sacrifice.
"The coalition attacked regime leadership targets,
military forces, command centers, communications nodes, and all
located aircraft to break the military capacity of the regime. At
this point, the coalition can operate throughout all of the airspace
Just over two weeks into Operation Iraqi Freedom,
U.S. troops are operating in the heart of the Iraqi capital, Air
Force Maj. Gen. Gene Renuart, chief of operations for the command,
said during a press conference in Qatar.
"This was an operation conducted by two task
forces of the 3rd Infantry Division," Renuart said. "They
… had been south of the city and conducted a raid through
the city, proceeding north to the Tigris River and then continuing
out to the west in the direction of the airport."
"I think that the message … is to put
a bit of an exclamation point on the fact that coalition troops
are … in the vicinity of Baghdad, do in fact have the ability
to come into the city at places of their choosing," Renuart
said. He also noted this demonstrates to the Iraqi leadership that
the coalition doesn’t have control in the way the enemy leadership
continues to say on Iraqi television. "And I think we made
that point," he said.
The newly renamed Baghdad International Airport
is firmly in American hands. Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry and
101st Airborne divisions have secured the airfield and defeated
a number of Iraqi attacks.
"That does not mean that there’s not a threat
from artillery from enemy forces, who have continued to attack throughout
the course of today to varying degrees and in varying sizes, but
with no success," Renuart said. "There are a number of
sites on the airfield that we want to make sure we spend extra time
to ensure there’s not booby traps and those kinds of things. But
we feel like we can operate on the airfield with ease."
The 1st Marine Expeditionary Force continues to
hammer resistance from foreign fighters said to be Egyptians, Jordanians
and Sudanese may later be determined part of the Al Qaeda terror
now hold more than 6,500 Iraqi POWs. "We also have reports
of a number of units in the country who … have expressed interest
in (surrendering)," Renuart said. "But as we move through
the country, we haven’t been able to get to some of those yet to
determine whether they will choose to fight or not. We will continue
to work through step by step, continuing on our plan, and we hope
that many of these units will make that decision (to surrender)."