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2003-04-10

Iraq Regime Disintegrates As Fighting and Looting Continues in Baghdad: May Ying Welsh Reports Live From the Iraqi Capital

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Looting is surging and buildings have been set on fire in Baghdad today as fighting continues in some parts of the city.

US troops have come under fire throughout the day. Fighters attacked a convoy of US marines and special forces at dawn on the banks of the Tigris River near a mosque. One US soldier was killed and over a dozen wounded. The BBC is reporting Saddam Hussein may have been hiding in the mosque. US troops are now searching the mosque.

US warplanes bombed non-Iraqi Arab fighters on the west bank of river. Reuters reports the fighters appear to be in control of several districts in the West of the city. They are controlling checkpoints and US troops were nowhere to be seen.

British war correspondent Robert Fisk visited a group of the fighters yesterday and reports they are from Algeria, Morocco, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine. One of them told Fisk: "We left our wives and children and came here to die for these people and then they told us to go."

Yesterday, top US officer Brigadier-General John Kelly told the Sidney Morning Herald that hundreds of non-Iraqi Muslim fighters are putting up a stronger fight for Baghdad than Iraq’s Republican Guard.

He said: "They run into our machine guns and we shoot them down like the morons they are."

Meanwhile, the capital has plunged into lawlessless. Tens of thousands of people are roaming the city looking for plunder. Iraqis are targeting government buildings, embassies, and banks. They are taking air conditioners, radios, furniture, and money. US troops are making little or no effort to stop them and in some cases are joining them. On Monday, troops from the US Army’s 3rd Infantry Division stormed one of Iraq’s presidential palaces. They took ashtrays, gold-painted glassware and other souvenirs.

U.S. troops are occupying the Oil Ministry.

The Pentagon reports over 100 US soldiers have been killed in the invasion and around 400 injured.

  • May Ying Welsh, independent reporter in Baghdad.

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