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U.S. Seize Three Presidential Palaces in Baghdad

Posted April. 07, 2003 21:53,   


As the United States Army advanced to the center of Baghdad on April 7, the 19th day since the opening of the war, the Iraqi War had its decisive moment both psychologically and militarily.

Two tank battalions and one mechanized infantry battalion from the Second Brigade of the Third Infantry Division seized two of the presidential palaces after advancing in the heart of Iraq with 65 tanks and 40 armored vehicles, escorted by the A-10 “tank killers” and unmanned scout planes.

The presidential palace located in the southwestern region of Baghdad, near the airport, already was secured by the First Brigade of the Third Infantry Division. The U.S. Army has now taken control of three palaces among the six including the old presidential palace.

Iraqi soldiers showed strong resistance with small arms fire from its strong line of defense along the Tigris River, which runs in through the middle of Baghdad.

“American soldiers committed suicide due to their weak offense at the entrance of Baghdad. Baghdad is safe and is well protected,” argued the Iraqi Information Minister Mohammad Saeed al-Sahaf.

However, even during the press conference of Minister al-Sahaf, there was the endless sound of explosions and weapons fire, and foreign correspondents reported that the U.S. Army advanced as far as nearby the Iraqi Information Ministry.

“Today’s operation isn’t to seize the center of the city. We are just displaying our capabilities to advance whenever we desire,” clarified the U.S. Department of Defense.

Foreign correspondents reported that the British Army found the body of Iraqi General Ali Hassan al-Majid, better known as ‘Chemical Ali’, the man responsible for ordering the poison gas attack that killed thousands of Kurds in 1988 in Basra. As a cousin of President Saddam Hussein, General al-Majid is one of the more important leaders of the Iraqi regime.

As news about the U.S. Army’s advance into the center of Baghdad spread throughout the world, the U.S. dollar, along with various stock prices increased rapidly.

President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have entered into a two-day summit in Belfast, Northern Island to discuss reconstruction of Iraq after the war. Meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council also held a meeting to discuss Iraq after the war.

Eun-Taek Hong euntack@donga.com