The Iraqi army started the counteroffensive
CNN reported with reference to the information of the American intelligence that a large column of elite troops of the Iraqi Republican Guard headed to the south of Baghdad. There are about one thousand pieces of ordnance in the column. The Republican Guard is moving towards the town of an-Najaf, where a lot of American troops are concentrated.
An official military spokesman for Iraq said that divisions of the Iraqi Republican Guard had its first battle on Wednesday not far from an-Najaf. According to the information from Iraqi authorities, a lot of coalition soldiers were killed as a result of the battle, and six tanks were destroyed.
The Pentagon rejected the information pertaining to the counteroffensive of the Iraqi forces. However, American military officials do not exclude that a small part of the Iraqi defense technology performed a certain maneuver. A spokesman for the British command acknowledged that several dozens of tanks and armored vehicles of the Iraqi army broke through the encirclement around Basra. As an official said, a column of the Iraqi defense technology was attacked by the air force of the anti-Iraqi coalition.
According to the unofficial information that was received from American military men, occupation forces lost 45 soldiers by Wednesday, including 25 Americans and 20 British servicemen. Eighteen soldiers were killed in direct clashes with Iraqi troops. American media outlets report that at least 25 American marines were wounded in street battles in the town of an-Nasiriya. Fifteen Iraqi men were wounded in the skirmish, although it was not specified, if they were servicemen or civilians. Various sources say that about 80 Iraqi civilians were killed in Basra during three days of the current week.
Iraqi authorities reported that a British chopper was downed not far from the city of Basra. As Baghdad said, coalition forces lost eleven tanks and two armored vehicles yesterday. However, the Pentagon increases its military power in Iraq. As US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said, allied troops would grow until the war is over.
About one thousand servicemen of the 173 airborne brigade landed in the northern Kurds-controlled part of Iraq. The commander of American land troops in Iraq addressed to the Pentagon with a request to deploy about 700 American servicemen to Iraq. That was the first time during this war, when the American command asked a reinforcement from the Pentagon.
The majority of countries of the world still stand against the war. The UN Security Council has recently held a session, at which UN Secretary General Kofi Annan stressed out that a lot of world leaders called the legitimacy of American administration’s actions into question.
The chairman of the UN General Assembly, former Foreign Minister of the Czech republic Jan Kavan announced that the UN is not supposed to let the American and British administrations dictate their will at the restoration of Iraq. However, Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, said that there would be no point of either a cease-fire or a break after the beginning of the military operation in Iraq. Powell also stressed out that the US administration was not going to let the UN have the control over Iraq after the war ends. Colin Powell stated that Washington was going to keep the dominating control over the development of the situation in Iraq after the war ends. It was stated that the USA would not allow anyone to gain the control, even if it was ruled so by the United Nations.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
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