US forces close in on Baghdad
U.S. troops were outside Baghdad's main airport on Thursday and positioning themselves to fight for it, a senior U.S. military spokesman told Reuters at Central Command war headquarters in Qatar.
"Coalition forces at this point are outside of the Baghdad airport and are positioning themselves to engage that fight at a time of our choice," Captain Frank Thorp said.
Reuters correspondents with U.S. troops in the field near Baghdad said forward units of the 3rd Infantry Division were 10 kilometers from the Iraqi capital's southern outskirts. Baghdad's Saddam International Airport is about 20 kilometers southwest of the center of the city.
Iraq moved crack troops to defend Baghdad's southern approaches on Thursday as U.S. forces stood poised at the city's doorstep. U.S. military sources said Iraq was deploying more Republican Guards south of the capital in a bid to defend the city's airport and block the U.S. advance.
It was unclear how many Iraqi soldiers were on the move or which Republican Guard units were involved, the officials said. U.S. spy planes had spotted the Iraqi reinforcements moving south from the capital during the night, a source told Reuters.
The city and its outskirts were heavily bombed overnight. (Albawaba.com)
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