US troops have reached the Baghdad airport after fierce fighting with Iraqi forces. US troops are closing in on Baghdad from two directions. The Pentagon says they are just six miles from the edge of the city.
US commanders claimed they have effectively destroyed the Medina and Baghdad Republican Guard divisions defending the approaches to Baghdad.
Casualty figures are not known. Iraqi forces shot down a Black Hawk helicopter near Karbala. The Pentagon says it appears seven people were killed. A fighter plane also went down; the fate of the pilot is not known. Two US soldiers were killed in an apparent Iraqi rocket-propelled grenade attack. A BBC reporter said he saw American dead being tended on stretchers near the Euphrates.
US officers said some 500 Iraqi troops were killed including members of the Special Republican Guard, in fighting for a key bridge some 20 miles southwest of Baghdad.
- May Ying Welsh, independent reporter in Baghdad.
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