U.S. commanders forced to order pause in advancement towards Baghdad; Iraqi information ministry building hit
U.S. commanders have ordered a pause of between four to six days in a northwards push towards Baghdad because of supply shortages and stiff Iraqi resistance, U.S. military officers said on Saturday.
They said the "operational pause", ordered on Friday, meant that advances would be put on hold while the military sorted out logistics problems with long supply lines from Kuwait.
The invasion force would continue to attack Iraqi forces ahead of them with heavy air strikes during the pause, softening them up ahead of any eventual attack on Baghdad, said the officers.
Use of gas-guzzling armoured vehicles has been restricted to save fuel and food is also in short supply. In one frontline infantry unit, for instance, soldiers have had their rations cut to one meal packet a day from three.
Resistance from Iraqi forces fighting in towns along the advance lines has hampered the stretched supply convoys.
Meanwhile, a U.S. cruise missile attack on Iraq's Information Ministry in Baghdad on Saturday severely damaged the main ministry building, Reuters said.
Baghdad was targeted by several air raids overnight, and explosions shook the city shortly after 7 A.M. (0400 GMT). Warplanes could be heard overhead.
A missile appeared to have pierced the roof of the main 11-storey ministry building. Aerials and satellite dishes on the roof were broken and the area around the building was littered with broken glass.
A ministry annex which houses the offices of several media organizations including Reuters was also damaged. Sky News reported that the before carrying out the strike the U.S. had warned that the information ministry was a "legitimate" target, in order to give foreign press operating there an opportunity to leave the premises.
A U.S. Central Command statement said Tomahawk cruise missiles had targeted the ministry building,.
Massive air raids pounded the outskirts of Baghdad early Saturday morning, shaking buildings in the city, Reuters added. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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