U.S. forces have started moving into Baghdad, according to media reports Saturday morning, but information regarding the extent of the troop movements and the degree to which coalition soldiers remained in the Iraqi capital varied.
The New York Times
reported that a group of about 60 coalition tanks and other vehicles entered Baghdad Saturday. According to that report, the reaction from residents was mixed, with some waving at the troops and other Iraqis responding by shooting.
Web site, Air Force Maj. Gen. Vincent Renuart, of the U.S. Central Command, said two task forces of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division conducted an operation from south of the Iraqi capital north to the Tigris River and then west toward Baghdad's airport. "It was, I think, a clear statement of the ability of the coalition forces to move into Baghdad at the time and place of their choosing," Renuart said.
quoted military officials who said one American tank was lost during the incursion into Baghdad. The newspaper also quoted military offials who said that American forces in significant numbers had entered the capital city, but they wouldn't specify either the number of troops or their exact location.
"We do have troops in the city of Baghdad," the
quoted Capt. Frank Thorp as saying. "They're in the middle of the city."
Reports were also ongoing that large numbers of Baghdad residents are fleeing the city as coalition troops move in and around the Iraqi capital.
reported that a suicide bomber attacked U.S. forces at Baghdad's international airport. That report quoted a Marine gunnery sargeant as the source of the information, but also said U.S. Central Command stated that it had no knowledge of the attack. The U.S. says it has successfully secured the airport, but Iraq claims that its forces still control the airport.
reported that two Marine pilots were killed when their helicopter crashed Saturday in central Iraq.