A detachment of US Marines has been destroyed on the outskirts of the Iraqi port town of Umm Qasr, according to a statement by Iraqi Information Minister Mohammad Saeed al-Sahaf. The minister said that the group of US troops 'ran away' after meeting with desperate resistance from Iraqi troops and local defence forces. He made no mention of any casualties among the US soldiers. Al-Sahaf also said that two self-propelled artillery pieces had been put out of action during the fighting.
The Pentagon has so far refused to comment on the situation.
Russian officials have repeatedly declared that Israeli aviation poses a threat to the Russian military in Syria.