The breakthrough of the advanced detachment of the 1st brigade from the 3rd motorized division to the international airport of Baghdad is a very serious advance indeed. But to all appearances, it turned to be unexpected for the Iraqi command. American subdivisions who seized territories around the airport didn't meet strong resistance (the airport was defended just by 2-3 Iraqi combat companies without heavy technique and armament), didn't find any signs proving that Iraqis got ready to defend the airport at all. No defensive installation could be found in the airport, only entrenchment around it. No flying machines could be also found in the Baghdad airport, only chassis of old helicopters on the park places and one passenger air liner that failed to take off before the coalition prohibited flights at the beginning of the war.
Now the coalition troops in the region of the airport make up about 4,000 servicemen, up to 80 tanks and about 50 guns. Within several next hours helicopter subdivisions from the Army’s 101st Airborne Division may be transferred there.
According to information of wireless interception, the coalition HQ in Qatar ordered advancement of the brigade to be stopped three times at least and demanded that more reconnaissance of the airport region must be held as they feared the Iraqi army might set their troops ready for defense. Only when agents established connection from the airport building, an order to seize the airport was issued. The airport guards showed little resistance and withdrew to the city after several attacks. At that, connection with one of the subunits covering the flanks of the advancing group was lost. It's not clear yet whether the subunit just lost its way or was ambushed.
About 8:00 a.m., American positions were attacked by several home guard groups, probably people from areas adjacent to the airport. The people were scattered with tank and armored machines firing.
The 2nd brigade of the division approached the southern outskirts of Baghdad; it is now at the crossing of Baghdad-Amman and Baghdad-Kerbela highways.
No information was obtained to confirm statements of the American command concerning "total crushing" of divisions Medina (Al Madina Al Munawara) and Hammurapi from the Republican Guards' 2nd corps. Photography of the region revealed over 80 units of destroyed Iraqi armored technique which makes up 20% of the Republican Guards structure.
As it was found out, only advanced groups of the Hammurapi division participated in the battle and then it withdrew to Baghdad. One Medina brigade participated in the battle, it was split and partially withdrew to Baghdad and partially to Kerbela where the basic forces of the division are stationed.
Over the past four days Americans took a bit more than 1,000 Iraqi prisoners; the US command says only half of the people can be regarded as Iraqi soldiers and officers with confidence. The number of seized or abandoned military equipment is insignificant. It proves that the Iraqi troops are not demoralized, and the Iraqi army command still controls its forces. The information was reported by Rednews.Ru.
Meanwhile, later Iraq warned the USA it would proceed to particular methods of conducting war. It will be reported further how many Americans die this night.
Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed as-Sahhaf said that US troops wouldn't be able to leave the airport alive. He specified that Iraq was going to conduct some kind of "a martyr operation" (he added, no weapons of mass destruction would be used at that). He said, the operation the Iraqi army was going to hold this night would teach Americans a lesson. With respect to the coalition troops who seized the airport the Minister said: "I don’t think they will have a chance to survive if they don't surrender at once. They are encircled on all sides, they stay like on an island there."
Translated by Maria Gousseva
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