Marines Take More Casualties at Nasiriya

M. Junaid Alam redjaguar at attbi.com
Tue Mar 25 15:02:38 MST 2003


I am assuming, of course, that in those four armored vehicles there were
US soldiers. Another CNN report says directly that "U.S. officials said
some U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians were killed, though they did not
say how many."
--

NASIRIYA, Iraq (CNN) -- Intense fighting broke out near this southern
Iraqi city Tuesday morning, the third consecutive day that U.S. Marines
have battled Iraqi forces here to establish control of a key north-south
route.

The city has been the site of some of the heaviest fighting of the war.
U.S. military sources said 10 Marines were killed in action and at least
five others taken prisoner Sunday. (Coalition casualties)

The Marines are trying to secure control of the bridges over the
Euphrates River, which are a key to the U.S. advance north toward the
Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

CNN correspondent Art Harris is traveling with the 3rd Battalion, 2nd
Marine Division, Task Force Tarawa. Harris said as the battalion drove
on the main road, which crosses the key bridges, he saw seven Marine
vehicles, including tanks, armored personnel carriers and Humvees, that
were "lost."

Two of those vehicles were stuck in mud and abandoned, Harris said. Five
others had been destroyed.

Marine sources said four of those vehicles were destroyed by Iraqis, but
the fifth was "shot up" by a U.S. A-10 Thunderbolt warplane, an attack
aircraft often used to destroy tanks.

The sources said it was unknown whether anyone was killed in the A-10
attack on the Marine vehicle.

As the Marine unit rolled into Nasiriya just before dawn, the main road
was "wall-to-wall" with Marines, Harris reported. They were lying flat
on the ground, M-16s at the ready, facing two directions. Tanks, Bradley
fighting vehicles and other armored personnel carriers were positioned
at every intersection, he said.

Harris said U.S. forces had put up constant fire for the three hours
since they rolled through. The Marines used .50-caliber machine guns,
mortars and heavy artillery.

Shots were being fired at the Marines from all around, and Harris said
it was difficult to determine enemy positions.

U.S. M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks fired several rounds as the Marines
went through, Harris said. Cobra attack helicopters flew overhead.

"Nasiriya is still in battle mode," he said.

Marines told Harris that they were seeing an apparent pattern
developing, in which unarmed Iraqis wearing traditional robes see the
U.S. forces go by, then disappear into their homes and emerge with
rocket-propelled


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