Daily war briefing

March 24, 2003

The battlefield

Twelve Army soldiers are reported missing, seven of them believed killed and five taken prisoner by Iraqi soldiers after being ambushed near An Nasiriyah. Iraqi television aired footage of what it said were dead Americans and interviews with five U.S. prisoners. At least nine Marines were reported killed and an unknown number wounded in a battle near An Nasiriyah after being lured into a trap by Iraqi soldiers pretending to surrender. Two British pilots were killed when their Tornado jet was accidentally hit by a Patriot missile. A U.S. soldier is being held in connection with throwing grenades into tents at a 101st Airborne camp where one officer was killed and 15 wounded. U.S. forces are building in northern Iraq. Heavy bombing continues in the north and in Baghdad.

The international front

Jordan becomes the first Arab country to expel Iraqi diplomats, saying they had performed acts "incompatible" with diplomatic duties.

The home front

President Bush demands that American troops held captive in Iraq be treated humanely. "We expect them to be treated humanely, just like we'll treat any prisoners of theirs that we capture humanely. If not, the people who mistreat the prisoners will be treated as war criminals," he said.

Terror alert

Security nationwide remained at code orange, a high level.

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