Jets and missiles pounded Baghdad on Saturday, pulverizing buildings but leaving the power grid mostly intact. Thick smoke billowed over the city from fires set in oil-filled trenches, an attempt to mask the capital from missiles and bombs.
In Kuwait, one soldier was killed and 12 wounded by a grenade in a camp of the 101st Airborne Division near the Iraqi border. Authorities said a fellow U.S. soldier appeared to be responsible for the attack.
U.S. and British forces battled Iraqi troops outside Basra, Iraq's second largest city, while coalition troops continued to advance across the desert toward Baghdad.
The 3rd Infantry Division captured the key Tallil air base outside Nassiriyah in southern Iraq. The base, big enough to land C-130 transports, could become a crucial supply link in the push for Baghdad.
Iraqi state television said Saddam Hussein met Saturday with advisers, including his son Qusai, the head of state security.
A U.S. Navy officer and six British servicemen were killed when two British Royal Navy Sea King helicopters collided after taking off from a ship in the Persian Gulf.
Sixteen U.S. soldiers were reported wounded in various clashes. In a friendly-fire incident, a Marine was killed by a shot from a U.S. 50-caliber machine gun in southern Iraq.
An Australian journalist was killed in northern Iraq and three British journalists were missing and believed killed in southern Iraq. In Baghdad, at least three people were reported killed and 200 wounded in the bombing.
Casualties to date:
U.S. military: 9 dead.
British military: 14 dead.
In Baghdad: 3 dead, 200 injured, according to unconfirmed reports.
Journalists: 1 dead, 3 missing and presumed dead.
Iranian state-run news media charged that three missiles aimed at Iraq had fallen in neighboring Iran instead, striking a gas station and injuring at least two people. The United States and Britain were investigating.
Turkey denied reports that it had sent fresh troops into northern Iraq on Saturday. Other NATO countries pressured the Turks to stay out of the conflict, with Germany threatening to withdraw the 46 Patriot missiles it gave Turkey for protection.
In Afghanistan, U.S. troops hunting for terrorists seized a cache of weapons that included ammunition and hundreds of mortars and land mines near the southern Sami Ghar mountains.
In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov called the invasion of Iraq "a big mistake" and said he was concerned that Russian oil companies doing business in Iraq might be harmed by the war.
President Bush met with Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, CIA Director George Tenet and others at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland, while more than 2,000 people chanted and marched outside the White House, calling for an end to the war.
AROUND THE USA
There were antiwar protests across the country Saturday. The largest was in New York, where a 3-mile-long throng marched down Broadway. Scuffles were reported in some cities, but overall, the protests were orderly.
WEATHER IN BAGHDAD
High temperature: 73
Low temperature: 56
"Baghdad will remain with its head held high. The Baghdad of Saddam will remain defiant."—Saeed al-Sahhaf, Iraqi information minister.
(c) 2003, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.