A body of an Iraqi soldier lies on a bridge over the Euphrates river as combat engineers secure it to enable the 3rd Infantry Division to push towards Baghdad. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

US forces launched an assault on Baghdad airport after armoured units thrust almost unopposed within commuting distance to the Iraqi capital where they aim to destroy the rule of President Saddam Hussain. The Saddam International Airport came under US artillery fire last evening, leaving dozens killed and injured outside Baghdad.

As ground forces advanced, planes blasted targets in and around the city, where the power went off for the first time since the US -led war started two weeks ago. US officials said their forces had not targeted the electricity grid. “They’ve taken several outlying areas and are closer to the centre of the Iraqi capital than many American commuters are from their downtown offices,” US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said. US officers said parts of four elite Iraqi Republican Guard divisions were moving south, setting up a potential showdown for the capital.

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