The Battle for Baghdad is raging. Plumes of smoke are billowing from the city as tanks, artillery and planes attack government ministries and official buildings.
A US tank fired on the Palestine hotel today, the building where most of the foreign journalists in Baghdad are based. Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk has died of his wounds. Three other Reuters staff and a Spanish cameraman were also wounded. US troops claimed snipers were shooting at them from the building.
A US bombing raid also hit Al Jazeera’s Baghdad office. Al-Jazeera reporter Tareq Ayoub has died from injuries sustained in the attack, and cameraman is in the hospital. The office of another Arabic news network, Abu Dhabi TV, was also hit. The BBC reports the station has lost contact with its reporter.
Iraqi state television went off the air in Baghdad today. U.S. military officials indicated they had targeted television transmitters.
Two European journalists were killed when an Iraqi rocket destroyed the 2nd Brigade’s tactical operations center on the southern outskirts of Baghdad. That strike also killed two US soldiers and destroyed some 17 US military vehicles.
Iraqi street units have killed at least four other US soldiers in the capital. Unknown hundreds of Iraqis have died.
A B-1 bomber dropped four 2,000 pound bunker busting bombs on a building in a residential neighborhood today. US officials say they had received a tip that President Hussein and his sons might be meeting there. A US official told the Washington Post the Bush administration is “moderately hopeful” that Saddam Hussein was there. At least three buildings were destroyed in the attack on the district of al-Mansour in western Baghdad. The London Guardian is reporting residents standing around the rubble said shrapnel killed victims as far as 200 meters away.
- May Ying Welsh, independent journalist in Baghdad