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Latest developments in Iraq

Seven American POWs were found alive and in good shape in Iraq, setting off celebrations from the battlefield to their hometowns. Iraqi forces turned over the seven soldiers to Marines advancing toward Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown.

Two of the POWs had gunshot wounds but all were released late in the day from a hospital In Kuwait. They looked gaunt but walked on their own.

The search for Saddam continued, and Gen. Tommy Franks, the U.S. commander, disclosed that his forces have samples of the deposed leader's DNA to help determine whether he is alive or dead.

A half brother and close adviser of Saddam, Watban al-Tikriti, was captured by U.S.-led forces northwest of Mosul as he tried to cross the border into Syria.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said several leaders had fled to neighboring Syria, and President Bush warned Syrian leaders not to take them in.

Bush also said Syria has chemical weapons, a charge that nation has denied.

Parts of Baghdad returned to normal, with U.S. troops guarding hospitals and banks. But looting spread to army barracks and warehouses on the western outskirts.

U.S. forces in the capital also made some troubling discoveries: four large missiles capable of carrying high-explosive or chemical warheads, and dozens of suicide-bomb belts loaded with ball bearings and explosives.

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MILITARY ACTION

U.S. troops met little resistance as they entered Tikrit, which could be the last stronghold of forces loyal to Saddam. Franks said it was too early to say whether Tikrit would fall without a fight.

Two U.S. soldiers were wounded while on patrol in the northern city of Mosul, where Kurdish forces manned checkpoints trying to keep looters out of the city.

Franks said U.S. forces were starting to double back to towns bypassed on the race to Baghdad, looking for any remaining concentrations of Iraqi forces.

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CASUALTIES TO DATE

U.S. military: 115 dead, 5 missing.

British military: 31 dead.

Iraqi forces: Coalition officials estimate 2,300 killed in the defense of Baghdad.

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ELSEWHERE OVERSEAS

Yemen agreed to give asylum to Iraq's representative to the Arab League, Mohsen Khalil Ibrahim. The envoy is not among the top 55 Iraqi officials sought by U.S. forces.

Israel's Defense Ministry lowered its state of alert regarding a possible attack from Iraq, telling residents they no longer need to carry gas masks and keep a sealed room in their homes.

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IN WASHINGTON

The World Bank and International Monetary Fund agreed to a U.S. request to quickly send staffers to Iraq to assess the costs of rebuilding the country.

Former POW Jessica Lynch will likely spend several weeks at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington recuperating from multiple injuries suffered in her capture and detention by Iraqi troops, her doctors said. Her family said she rejoiced at news that seven other POWs were safe.

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WEATHER IN BAGHDAD

Monday

Partly cloudy

High temperature: 88

Low temperature: 66

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QUOTES

"You know, it's amazing. The statue comes down on Wednesday, and the headlines start to read, `Oh there's disorder.' Well, no kidding. It is a situation that is chaotic because Saddam Hussein created the conditions for chaos. He created the conditions of fear and hatred, and it's going to take awhile to stabilize the country."

_ President Bush

"It's him, and I'm just so happy that I could kiss the world."

_ Ron Young of Lithia Springs, Ga., seeing video of his son, returned POW Ron Young Jr.

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(c) 2003, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

Iraq

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