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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 richard "Much of the Iraqi capital remained without electricity and water after being hit by another night of sustained bombing." http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2916207.stm Last Updated: Friday, 4 April, 2003, 10:10 GMT 11:10 UK Email this to a friend Printable version 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 reports 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. PUSH FOR BAGHDAD 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 says. 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" www.j-n-v.org _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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