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[casi] Baghdad without electricity and water

see below bbc report.
If the elctricity and water are permamnently down in Baghdad, that would
mean a humanitarian catastrophe, and would also mean possible war crime
charges agaiunst blair and co
"Much of the Iraqi capital remained without electricity and water after
being hit by another night of sustained bombing."

Last Updated:  Friday, 4 April, 2003, 10:10 GMT 11:10 UK

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US fights to secure Baghdad airport

A US tank moves across part of the sprawling airport
United States troops say they are in control of large parts of Baghdad's
international airport.
Soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division fought their way into the airport
after a heavy bombardment overnight but continued to face Iraqi shelling on
Friday morning.

The Iraqis appear to be piling reinforcements into the area, reports say.

People were fleeing areas close to the airport to escape what one woman
called a "night of hell", Reuters reported.

Much of the Iraqi capital remained without electricity and water after being
hit by another night of sustained bombing.

President Saddam Hussein has vowed to defend Baghdad and defeat US-led
forces in a statement read out on Iraqi television by the country's
information minister.

In other military developments:

Kurdish fighters, backed by small groups of US soldiers, advance towards the
northern city of Mosul but meet heavy fire from Iraqi troops, Reuters

US troops move into the centre of the holy city of Najaf to search for
paramilitary fighters

Further south, British soldiers push forward in operations to secure the
second city of Basra, establishing what they say is a holding position
across the southernmost bridge into the city

Sources say 14 lorries with Iraqi troops sped out towards the airport on
Friday morning as panicked residents fled the other way.

"There were planes all night dropping bombs and there was shelling all
night," a woman said.

In an assault that began on Thursday evening, US tanks moved along a
single-lane road towards the airport with Iraqi fighters firing from all
sides for four hours, the Associated Press reported.


Map: Details of advances
Baghdad from the air
Opposing forces
The US forces were backed by F-15E and F18 fighter jets which dropped bombs
on the airport area, targeting fuel and hangar facilities.

At least 320 Iraqi soldiers were killed in the fighting, US military sources
said. There were no reports of American casualties.

"We control the airport. It's a big area with a lot of buildings that need
to be cleared but it's ours," Colonel John Peabody of the 3rd Infantry
Division told Reuters.

This may be the first time that US troops have engaged elements of the
Special Republican Guard, the BBC's defence correspondent Jonathan Marcus

This force, some 15,000-strong, is the closest military formation to the
Iraqi leadership.

Early on Friday, US troops fought off an Iraqi counterattack some 20
kilometres (12miles) from the airport, destroying several tanks in a fierce
firefight, Reuters reported.

Tough fights ahead

Military analysts say the capture of the airport would both have propaganda
value for the coalition and strategic importance as another airstrip to use
to bring in supplies.

But General Richard Myers, the top US military officer, warned that there
are "still a lot of tough fights ahead".

"Nobody should be euphoric that now that we are on the edge of Baghdad this
thing is just about over," he said. "That's not true."

To the south-east of the capital, US marines are continuing their advance
after crossing the Tigris river overnight, having engaged in a brief but
fierce battle with the Republican Guard.

The BBC's David Willis, who is travelling with them, saw the burned out
shells of Iraqi tanks and armoured vehicles lining the road.

Baghdad was plunged into darkness overnight by its first blackout of the war
which cut in as the assault on the airport began .

In the morning, much of the city remained quiet and calm, the BBC's Andrew
Gilligan reported.

Small groups of soldiers continue to man sandbagged gun positions but there
is no sign of any significant military activity within the city precincts,
he says.

However, large numbers of people are trying to leave the capital.

In other developments:

The foreign ministers of France, Germany and Russia are due to meet in Paris
to discuss the Iraqi crisis

Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri responds to speculation about the health
and whereabouts of Saddam Hussein, telling the BBC the president is alive
and well

The first major supplies of United Nations food aid into northern Iraq are
expected to cross the border from Turkey later on Friday

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld rules out any peace deal which would
allow Saddam Hussein to remain in power in Iraq

The US Congress approves $80bn finance for war on Iraq but money earmarked
for post-war reconstruction will not go to companies in France, Germany,
Russia or Syria

sign the pledge of resistance to the "war on terrorism"

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