Iraq on Friday began to feel the full force of the U.S. and British military.
Baghdad was ablaze as the U.S. Central Command used intense bombing to persuade Iraq's leaders and Republican Guard that resistance would be futile. One of the presidential palaces was hit, as were the prime minister's office and the Cabinet building.
The air assault also struck military sites in the northern towns of Kirkuk, Mosul and Tikrit.
In southern Iraq, allied forces took the Rumailah oil field and the port of Umm Qasr. The second-largest city in Iraq, Basra, also suffered a heavy bombardment.
Basra is a key target because of its port.
In western Iraq, two key airfields fell under U.S. control.
In Ankara, Turkey, the government continued to weigh whether to grant permission for U.S. military overflights. Turkey wants to send troops into northern Iraq in exchange for accommodating the United States. The negotiations, which have dragged on for months, have left U.S. officials irate.
In Khuzestan, a province of Iran that borders Iraq, officials prepared for an initial influx of 60,000 refugees. The United Nations refugee agency this week paid $1 million to help ready four camps. The work included clearing land mines and building access roads.
In Brussels, Belgium, the president of France, Jacques Chirac, told the European Union that his nation would oppose any U.N. resolution allowing the United States and Britain to administer postwar Iraq.
"That would justify the war after the event," he said.
In San'A, Yemen, a police officer and a protester died during an antiwar demonstration that drew 30,000 to the capital.
In Athens, Greece, some 150,000 demonstrated against the war. Police used tear gas to chase off small groups of protesters who threw rocks and gasoline bombs at the U.S. Embassy.
U.S. intelligence agencies now believe that Saddam Hussein was injured, perhaps seriously, by the surprise missile strike that initiated the war. In a bid to undermine Saddam, some U.S. defense officials have mimicked the tactics of telemarketers, peppering Iraqi generals with phone calls in recent months, urging them to abandon their leader.
In Congress, President Bush was on the verge of a major victory in his bid for a tax cut. It was approved in the House by a three-vote margin and went to the Senate.
AROUND THE UNITED STATES
In San Francisco, streets were calm as nearly all of the city's police officers worked overtime to prevent a repeat of Thursday's chaotic protests against the war. At least 80 demonstrators were arrested outside the headquarters of Bechtel, an international construction company likely to get U.S. government contracts to help rebuild Iraq.
In Washington, D.C., small groups of antiwar protesters darted from one intersection to another, attempting to block traffic. They drew chalk outlines of themselves on the pavement, as if homicide detectives had marked the position of a body.
In Dallas, members of the Northaven United Methodist Church planned to conclude a two-day fast at 6 p.m. Saturday.
In Miami, travel agents have seen a decline in air travel but an uptick in customers who want to take a cruise. The appeal: numerous ships well-positioned at U.S. ports and the ability of many potential vacationers to reach a port by car.
WEATHER IN BAGHDAD
High temperature: 73
Low temperature: 54
"I want the Americans to make mincemeat out of Saddam. Myself, I'd like to put him on a skewer—a Saddam kebab."—Karim Hussein, a Kurdish traffic policeman in Kalak, Iraq.
(c) 2003, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.