|http://www.sina.com.cn 2003/04/07 14:55 新浪教育|
Allies Advance As Warplanes Hit Baghdad
Aiming for Saddam Hussein 's seat of power, U.S.-led warplanes and helicopters attacked Republican Guard units defending Baghdad on Monday while ground troops advanced to within 50 miles of the Iraqi capital. President Bush put a billion price tag on a down payment for the war.
The helicopter assault marked the first known engagement between forces in central Iraq, and many of the American craft were hit by Iraqi groundfire. One went down behind enemy lines - the cause was unknown - and the Pentagon said the two-person crew had been taken prisoner.
Five dayssintosOperation Iraqi Freedom, resistance prevented American and British forces from securing the southern cities of Basra and An Nasiriyah and thwarted efforts to extinguish burning oil wells.
"These things are never easy," conceded British Prime Minister Tony Blair on the day his country suffered its first combat casualty of the war. "There will be some difficult times ahead but (the war) is going to plan despite the tragedies."
Saddam sought to rally his own country in a televised appearance. "Be patient, brothers, because God's victory will be ours soon," he said, appearing in full military garb and seeming more composed than in a taped appearance broadcast last week.
Iraqis set up mortar positions south of the city and piled sandbags around government buildings and other strategic locations, in evident anticipation of a battle to come.
"Coalition forces are closing in on Baghdad," Maj. Gen. Stanley told reporters at the Pentagon.
Defense officials at the Pentagon said the Apaches encountered heavy groundfire during their assault on the Medina armored division. One official said many Apaches were hit by fire.
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