DEBKAfile Headlines

25 March 2003

Iraqi forces mount counter-offensive in Basra, deploying 50 tanks to edge British forces to southern outskirts of city. Fighting continues

DEBKAfile’s military sources: Saddam’s 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.

Saddam’s 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