Iraq rebuffs claims about US troops in the heart of Baghdad
Iraq's Information Minister said on Saturday that Baghdad was firmly under Iraqi control and denied U.S. reports that troops had reached the center of the capital.
Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf also reiterated that Iraqi troops had defeated U.S. forces at Baghdad airport overnight. U.S. officers say they are in control.
Asked about U.S. reports that troops were in the heart of the capital, Sahaf told a news conference: "You can go and visit those places. Nothing there, nothing there at all. There are Iraqi checkpoints. Everything is OK."
He said that U.S. forces bombed the capital and tried to make airborne landings to divert attention from a battle for Baghdad's airport. He added that Iraqi forces had shot down a warplane over Iraq and destroyed seven tanks in the southern city of Basra in the past 24 hours.
Meanwhile, a Reuters correspondent in the center said he had seen no U.S. forces there, but had heard more than a dozen explosions from the south.
Earlier, it was reported that a US tank commander was shot and killed and two other soldiers wounded when they came under intense fire in the city center. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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