Intense battle on key bridge over Euphrates River, US claims 500 Iraqis killed
Some 500 Iraqi troops were killed Thursday as US forces repelled a bid to take back a key bridge over the Euphrates River about 30 kilometres south-west of Baghdad, a US officer said.
"In the attack for this bridge and the counter-attacks, probably 500 died," Major John Altman, an intelligence officer with the 1st brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division told AFP.
Meanwhile, reports said Iraqi Republican Guard reinforcements were moving out of Baghdad toward the approaching Americans. Artillery fired at Iraqi positions to the north and east Thursday morning, and there was repeated small arms fire. Howitzers shelled the city of Numaniya, 65 kilometers southeast of Baghdad, where Marines took a bridge over the Tigris River a day earlier.
The Marine column was moving north along the Tigris, joined by thousands of Marines coming in from the west. Multiple convoys, including flatbeds, fuel tankers, first aid vehicles and supply vehicles, merged outside Numaniya, jamming up traffic at the bridge across the river.
Meanwhile, the Army was advancing along the Euphrates River, the closest units reaching within 35 kilometers of Baghdad, US sources said. (Albawaba.com)