As the fighting develops... news alerts here

I would like to keep this thread as a running "headline" as things develop. Links to news sites and reports are fine, but posts should be brief details of what is being reported as above. If something has been reported once then plse do not repeat headlines UNLESS there is a new development.  Grateful if you would discuss/comment in other threads plse.

Sky news is reporting Ricing found in a Paris railways stations:

Traces of deadly poison ricin have been found in a Paris railway station, reports say.

The French Interior Ministry told Reuters that two small flasks containing traces of the poison were discovered in a left luggage depot at the Gare de Lyon railway station in Paris.

The mainline station serves the south of France

British troops have moved on, and taken Umm Qasr, a port in southern Iraq as RM prepare for amphibious assaults on targets in the south of Iraq. US forces are currently engaged in artillery operations on the Iraq/Kuwait border as Marines from 1st Exped Force are recieving prisoners.

40 Cruise missiles have hit Baghdad hitting 1 Presidentail Palace. 20% of the Republican Guard units are reported as being ready to surrender.

2215 Zulu 20/03
All networks reporting Chinook or Sea Knight down in Kuwait, British and American casualties.

Pentagon quoted as saying "it doesn't look good"......
A US Marine helicopter has crashed while conducting operations related to the campaign against Iraq, a US defence official said.
"A Marine helicopter has gone down in the area of operations," the official said.
The Pentagon would not comment about causalities but BBC news has reported 16 people have been killed including 12 Americans and four British soldiers.
BBC reported the helicopter was a CH-46 Seaknight widely used by the US Marines.
Earlier two other US military helicopters made crash landings during operations along the Kuwait-Iraq border. One was later destroyed by American warplanes to prevent it from falling into Iraqi hands, US Defense Department officials said.

BlackHand - The night watchman
New Zealand Television has just shown a Washington Post correspondant quoting an unamed US official saying that Saddam WAS killed in 'decapitation' strike yesterday.  

Lets hope so
US Marine 1st Expeditionary Force comes under "Co-ordinated defence in depth" across the axis of advance.
Iraqis using Small Arms under Saggers under Artillery. One US Marine element is reported to have been forced to tactically advance backwards. US Marines were reported to be 200 Meters into Iraq when engaged.(HARD and Well by accounts) British Artillery currently shooting to dig the US Marines out.

7th Cavalry also stopped for replen, but appear to have been engaged by Battlefield Missiles during the advance.

No further word on 1st Armoured, but Umm Qasr and Faw objectives seem to have gone without a hitch. Booties reported to have lifted 100 POWS

General quality of UK news reporting = Pantz .

CNN , Al-Jazeera, Lebanese TV and the Bahranis have got this taped so far. Going to bed for an hour, it's knackering watching six screens and taping :)

IS Ski Geek

War Hero
1st Soldier US Marine killed in action.
8 USAF B-52s left RAF Fairford this morning at 1000Zulu. With a range of 4000 miles they could strike any target in Iraq in around 6 hours flying time.

14 B-52's have been based at RAF Fairford since early March.

US officials are denying Iraqi claims to have shot down a RAF or USAF fighter at 0225 this morning.

CNN report that Australian SAS are operating deep inside Iraqi territory.

Coalition air forces bombed the northern town of Mosul around 0430Zulu

Iraqi troops have set light to 15 oil wells in southern Iraq reducing visibility.

US 7th Cavalry are racing towards Baghdad and have covered almost 100km since leaving the LoD destroying 6 tanks in the process.

US and British Special Forces have siezed 2 airfields known as H-2 and H-3 in lightening raids.

The Pentagon has said that it is considering plans to flood the Tigris River in order to displace Iraqi troops.
Turkey reported as withdrawing permission for overflights, after row with US re deployment into Kurdistan.

US Helicopters temporairily grounded, RAF being used for lift, Timetable slipage  = 6 hours
Friday, 21 March

1145: Officials in Washington confirm that a US Marine has been killed in Iraq - the first reported combat death.

1115: Iraqi president offers cash rewards to anyone capturing an enemy soldier or downing an enemy aircraft, the state news agency reports.

1100: Iraqi port of Umm Qasr expected to come under US-UK control "shortly" - UK Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon.

1045: An Iraqi opposition leader says opposition fighters have engaged troops loyal to president on outskirts of northern city of Kirkuk.

1030: Kuwaiti Defence Ministry says incoming Iraqi missile shot down over north of country.

1013: Iraqi military spokesman tells news conference President Saddam Hussein is safe; denies any soldiers have surrendered to US-led forces.

1005: Giant B52 bombers take off from UK airbase.

1000: Southern Iraqi port of Umm Qasr 'not yet secured' by US Marines.

0930: Dispute delays opening of Turkish airspace to US warplanes

0820 Up to 30 oil wells deliberately set on fire by Iraqi forces in southern Iraq - UK Defence Secretary.

0755: UK forces secure southern Faw peninsula but face "some stern resistance" at Umm Qasr - UK Defence Secretary.


Fresh off the press of Sky news.  

France would block any UN resolution giving the US and Britain the power of administration in Iraq, French President Jacques Chirac has declared.

He said France would still not support a resolution backing war at this stage and would also oppose a resolution giving Washington and London administrative power in Iraq.

"This idea of a resolution seems to me to be a way of authorising military intervention after the event, and so is not, in my point of view, fitting in the current situation," Mr Chirac said at a news conference in Brussels.

"France would not accept a resolution that authorises military intervention and gives the United States and Britain administrative powers in Iraq."
16:30 Saddam Killed in first air strikes (Source: BBC)
 Other sources say that is likely that he has been injured, there have been sightings of him being carried out of bomb wrecked compound with an oxygen mask on his face. There has been no coms between his office HQs and Gov't Offices in Iraq.(Source ABC)
(Comment: Do we know its him & how many more have they got in the cupboard).

1st Armored in race north

Dobre Szczescie jest bezpieczny ;)
:-/Key components of oil wells in UK/US (7 on fire not 30)(Source Aus BC)
:) Southern Port of Um Qusr in UK/US hands. (Sources:BBC, Aus BC).    ???Denied by Sadam's mates.
  :mad: US forces ( 3(US) Inf Div) meeting resistance at Nasiriya 375km South East of Baghdad. (Comment Key Crossing Point Over Euphrates).
Other elements of elements of 3(US) Inf Div advancing 150 Km over Kuwaiti Border.(Sources: Aus BC)
Airfields in Us hands H2 (225 Km south of Baghdad)and  H3(289Km south of Baghdad) British & Us troops on outskirts of Basra (Sources: Aus BC)

:eek: Sadam says Geneva Convention no longer applies to captured POWs. Reward offered $33'000 for a plane
$17,000 for soldier (alive) $8500 for soldier(dead), (Comment: Any one wanting to make a fast buck(1)Selling a section wouldn't buy you a flat in London, (2) All monies payable in Iraqi dinars).(Source:AusBC)

:eek:Saddam & sons show up on TV (Comment which one is it)

 :-XBaghdad another air raid  (comment: AD able to prepare as most major news sites reporting departure of B52s from RAF Fairford).

:-/Powell to speak to Turks over Airspace problems. (Source: Aus BC)

:'( 2nd Us marine killed in southern Iraq in Um Qusr. (Source CNN)

Iraq's 51st Division is reported to have surrendered en masse. Senior officers and 8000 men are said to have surrendered to coalition troops. The 51st Div is tasked with defending Basra's southern approach, and if reports of the surrender are true it means that coalition troops will take Basra with a reduced threat of FIBUA.

1500 Turkish troops have enetered northern Iraq to quash Kurdish terrorism and prevent an influx of refugees into Turkey. Washington is said to be uneasy about the deicision, but as yet has not released any official statement on Turkey's troop deployments. Turkey has stated that it does not have terrirtorial ambitions inside Iraq.

Coalition forces subjected Baghdad to a 90 minute bombardment at around 1800Zulu using Tomahawk missiles and Paveway 3 munitions. Saddam Hussein's voice was heard booming out of loudspeakers urgin the Iraqi people to stand and fight, but many civilians chose to take refuge during the bombardment, during which ministerial buildings were repeatedly targetted.
0226 zulu
CNN and Reuters confirm Iraqi 51st Division (a Regular Army unit) have surrendered- both quoting Pentagon as the source of information.

BlackHand -Night watchman
Turkish foreign ministry has now absolutely confirmed that Turkish forces have entered Northern Iraq, to "Police the refugee problem" :(
TVNZ Shows ABC report of US paratroopers, saying they have gained control of two airfields west of Baghdad

ABC and CNN Websites say two Royal Navy helicopters have collided in Persian Gulf- no further details.  
CNN confirmed that 2 Royal Navy Se King helicopters crashed close to HMS Ark Royal after colliding. All 7 crew members plus 1 American liason officer were killed.

ITN report that one of their news crews were fired upon by an Iraqi vehicle. 1 member of the news team escaped with injuries, the reporter, cameraman, and sound recordist are missing, last seen heading towards Basra.

A car bomb has exploded in northern Iraq killing 2 journalists from the Australian Broadcasting Commission. Kurdish seperatists are blaming a group linked to Al Quaeda. The attack was deluberate and aimed at the journalists.

American B-52 aircraft have been involved in a second sustained air raid on Baghdad. Parts of the city are reported as being in darkness as a result of the second wave of attacks this evening.

Saddam Hussein has appeared on Iraqi TV praising his troops and calling on the UN to stop the attack.
Just been a report on CNN that the 101st Airborne Division has suufered a SOF type attack whilst in camp.

Intruders penetrated the camp and attacked the two "leadership tents" with hand grenades before escaping. The report states that there were at least 10 casualties, 6 serious.