25 March 2003
Iraqi forces mount counter-offensive in Basra, deploying 50 tanks to edge British forces to southern outskirts of city. Fighting continues
DEBKAfiles military sources: Saddams Fedayeen around Baghdad armed with super-gun capable of firing chemical, biological and nuclear shells. Al Medina Division known to be armed with chemical weapons.
Saddams WMD red line for Baghdad is Iron Triangle enclosing Special Republican Guards positions around city as revealed in earlier reports.
Bush and Blair to meet in US Thursday to discuss extra infantry forces for Baghdad battle and war progress
Retired US Army Gen McCaffrey estimates dicey Baghdad campaign could claim up to 3,000 allied lives. He believed command had underestimated size of force needed as revealed in earlier DEBKAfile War Diary Report below.
Sandstorms over southern Iraq, snow blizzards in north, severely hamper coalition war operations, will last next 2-3 days
Iraqi Television shows two American pilots of Apache helicopter downed by Iraqi ground fire, after the Pentagon confirmed they were missing in action. The two men appeared in good health and not badly treated like the first group of US captives. Neither spoke during the broadcast.
DEBKAfile reports hundreds of US Apache and Black Hawks went into battle Sunday night against T-72 tanks of Republican Guards of Medina Division 2nd Armored Brigade at al Kut south of Baghdad. Helicopters encountered heavy ground fire.
Continuing waves of air strikes over Baghdad Monday and Tuesday