Daily war briefing

War In Iraq

March 31, 2003

The battlefield

Coalition forces are said to be closing in on Baghdad from the south, west and north while day and night air strikes pound military facilities and Republican Guard troops inside the capital.

A Marine UH-1 Huey helicopter crashes at a supply and refueling point in southern Iraq, killing three Marines and injuring one.

In northern Iraq, Kurd fighters take control of more territory left by Iraqi forces who withdrew toward the oil center of Kirkuk.

U.S. Marines discover more chemical suits, masks and nerve gas antidote during a raid on buildings used by Iraqi forces in Nasiriyah. In Basra, British forces find a stash of training equipment for chemical, biological and nuclear warfare.

A man in civilian clothes drives a pickup truck into soldiers at a Kuwaiti desert base, injuring 15 people.

British Marines stage a commando assault on a Basra suburb, killing about 30 Iraqis.

The international front

Tens of thousands of Indonesians hold their biggest protest against the war in Iraq while hundreds of thousands around the world stage another day of rallies denouncing the conflict.

The home front

U.S. military officials defend their war plan against criticism that they started with too few troops and underestimated the opposition. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said the most difficult days lie ahead in the confrontation over Baghdad.

Quote

"We have the power to be patient in this, and we're not going to do anything before we're ready," said Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "We'll just continue to draw the noose tighter and tighter."

Terror alert

Security nationwide remains at code orange, a high level.

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