Explosions rock Baghdad as U.S. attacks

Last Updated Thu, 20 Mar 2003 5:34:54

WASHINGTON - Air raid sirens blared in Baghdad and heavy anti-aircraft fire lit up the night sky as U.S.-led forces launched a brief military strike against Iraq's capital city early Thursday.

U.S. President George Bush, speaking on television shortly after the attack, said the war will be "decisive" and put an end to Saddam Hussein's "outlaw regime."
The assault began late Wednesday night with an attack on what U.S. officials called "targets of military importance."

The air strike began about 90 minutes after the U.S. deadline passed for Saddam to leave Iraq.

"This will not be a campaign of half measures," Bush said during his speech, with grim determination in his voice. "We will accept no outcome but victory."

U.S. officials said two F-117A stealth fighters and several dozen long-range missiles were used in the attack. Each plane dropped two 900-kilogram bombs that were guided by satellite signals.

About 40 Tomahawk cruise missiles blasted Baghdad, according to Washington, hitting a "target of opportunity" where senior members of Iraq's regime were believed to be meeting, as well as air defence sites nearby. The missiles were fired from ships in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea.

A source in the British military said British forces were not involved in Thursday's attack on Iraq.

Initially, there were reports that the strike may have been against Saddam himself. But the Iraqi leader was seen on television a few hours later denouncing the attack and urging Iraqis to fight.

Bush said it was the opening of what would be a "broad and concerted campaign," but it was not clear when the next air assault against Iraq would begin, or when ground troops might be sent in.

Written by CBC News Online staff

Iraq lobs missiles at Kuwait

Last Updated Thu, 20 Mar 2003 8:11:53

KUWAIT CITY, KUWAIT - Iraq fired four missiles at Kuwait on Thursday, one of them sending U.S. forces scrambling for their gas masks, another causing air raid sirens to sound in Kuwait City.

U.S. soldiers go to full gas alert as Iraqi missiles fired into Kuwait (AP PHOTO)
None of the missiles was thought to be carrying chemical or biological warheads, although U.S. troops at several camps in the northern Kuwait desert briefly put on their gas masks. They were given the all-clear a few minutes later.

U.S. officers said Patriot anti-ballistic missile batteries had intercepted at least one missile that had been fired toward U.S. forces.

The Patriot missiles proved to be ineffective against Iraq's Scud missiles in the 1991 Gulf War, despite U.S. military claims of success.

At Camp New Jersey, Col. Michael Linnington of the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division said the missile appeared to be an Al Samoud 2.

UN weapons inspectors had ordered Iraq to destroy its Al Samoud 2 missiles because they exceed the allowable range under UN rules.

The other missiles, some thought to be Scuds, all landed without causing any damage or injury, a spokesman for the Kuwaiti military told state television.

Personnel wearing full protective gear probed the area where one of the missiles came down to determine if any biological and chemical agents were present.

Written by CBC News Online staff