Weather was a crucial factor again Tuesday as sandstorms slowed the advance to Baghdad. But coalition troops moved closer and air strikes hit enemy missile sites and Republican Guard positions in or near the city.
Far to the south, the British army's Black Watch Regiment struck the city of Az Zubayr, killing 100 and seizing an official of Saddam Hussein's ruling Baath party.
Just north of Az Zubayr, Basra remained a city in chaos, without water or electricity. The coalition plans to be more aggressive in rooting out enemy forces—both regular and rogue troops—so that humanitarian aid can be delivered. The coalition was investigating reports that residents of the town had staged an uprising against Iraqi troops. That could be the kind of civil rebellion that the anti-Saddam forces have hoped would aid their cause.
Along the road north to the capital, coalition troops tried to control the enemy in Nasiriyah, the scene of fierce firefights. About 170 paramilitary troops were captured there by U.S. Marines. But snipers continued to plague allied soldiers going past the town.
CASUALTIES TO DATE (APPROXIMATE)
U.S. military: 25 dead
British military: 17 dead
In Baghdad: No report available from the International Committee of the Red Cross.
In Amman, Jordan, and around the country, busloads of Iraqi expatriates are returning home to help fight the U.S.-British forces. They aren't necessarily planning to join the military, but want to fight on their own.
In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Foreign Minister Saud al Faisal said he had tried to broker a peace agreement to end the war. He said the proposal remained alive.
In London, a survey in the Guardian newspaper found that 54 percent of the public backs the war, compared with 38 percent a week ago. Some experts suggest that the British are steeled against the casualties of war because of the long battle against terrorism in Northern Ireland.
In Seoul, South Korea, the National Assembly delayed a vote on sending the promised 700 non-combat soldiers to help the U.S.-led alliance. Popular opposition to the war may be growing in South Korea.
President Bush asked Congress to act expeditiously on his $74.7 billion emergency spending request for the war. He also said he would meet Wednesday night at Camp David and Thursday at the White House with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
AROUND THE UNITED STATES
In New York, the New York Stock Exchange banned reporters from Al-Jazeera, the Arab TV network. The exchange said it needed to give credentials to other journalists. Al Jazeera had angered many viewers by showing American prisoners of war and close-ups of bodies of U.S. soldiers. Also, hackers crashed the network's new English-language Web site (http://english.aljazeera.net).
In Lake Tahoe, which straddles the California and Nevada state lines, there has been a surge in weddings. Many of the newlyweds have been members of the military, eager to marry before war derailed their plans. In February, the clerk of El Dorado County in California issued 474 marriage licenses, compared with 269 the month before.
WEATHER IN BAGHDAD
Partly cloudy, with severe weather easing
High temperature: 59
Low temperature: 43
"Smart weapons are perhaps a tremendous advance in military action, but I fail to see how a smart weapon is going to distinguish between a good Iraqi and a bad Iraqi."
_Saud al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister
(c) 2003, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.