US troops seize Presidential palace, 'Chemical Ali' reported dead
US troops entered into the heart of Baghdad on Monday, April 7, and seized two palace complexes of President Saddam Hussein—the Old Palace compound and the New Presidential Palace on the Tigris River—in a daylight raid. American tanks also surrounded for a while the Iraqi Information Ministry and Al-Rashid Hotel.
US Marines, trying to cross key bridges on the capital's eastern flank, met heavy resistance. At least four American soldiers were killed when their armored troop carrier took a direct hit from artillery shell, reported AP. There is yet no estimate of Iraqi casualties from the raids.
The operation, carried out by 70 tanks and 60 Bradley fighting vehicles, was not intended to hold territory but rather as an armored show of force through the city, US Central Command spokesperson Captain Frank Thorp stated.
"I reassure you Baghdad is safe," Iraq's Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf declared at a news conference outside the Palestine Hotel. "There is no presence of the American columns in the city of Baghdad, none at all."
British military officials asserted Monday that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's cousin, Ali Hassan Al-Majid, has been found dead in the southern city of Basra. Al-Majid was dubbed ‘Chemical Ali’ for his part in ordering a deadly gas attack on Kurdish villages in 1988. — (Albawaba.com)
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