U.S. Marines try to assassinate top Iraqi officials in the south; At least one American soldier killed in clashes
U.S. Marines launched a dawn raid on the town of Shatra, north of Nassiriya, on Monday, aiming to assassinate senior Iraqi officials they believe are directing attacks again invasion forces, Reuters reported.
Among those targeted was Ali Hassan al-Majeed the cousin whom President Saddam Hussein has put in charge of the southern front.
The Marines were storming the town, about 35 km north of the city of Nassiriya, with warplanes dropping precision-guided bombs, helicopter gunships and tanks.
Marine officers said they had intelligence from anti-Saddam groups that Majeed was in Shatra with other senior officials in Saddam's Baath party who were coordinating paramilitary forces that have ambushed U.S. supply convoys and slowed the advance on Baghdad.
The targets in Shatra were the local Baath party headquarters and "associated planning sites", Marine officers said. "We believe there are about 200 to 300 Baath party loyalists and Saddam Fedayeen irregulars in the town," said Marine company commander Captain Mike Martin.
Meanwhile, at least one U.S. soldier was killed on Monday in a clash with Iraqi forces armed with rocket propelled grenades about 110 km south of Baghdad. A U.S. officer said that at least one soldier died in the fighting near the town of Imam Aiyub, south of the city of Hilla.
U.S. forces were firing artillery towards the town and Iraqi forces were hitting back with mortars and rocket propelled grenades, said Reuters.
Elsewhere, reports said some 15 Iraqi troops were killed in the fighting in Hindiyah, 80 km south of Baghdad, between the city of Karbala and the ruins of ancient Babylon. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)