War briefing: latest strikes and developments
U.S. troops confronted thousands of Republican Guard soldiers across the Karbala Gap, 60 miles south of Baghdad, in what American and British officials called one of the most crucial and perilous encounters so far in the war. A U.S. helicopter was forced down in the area and its two-man crew was captured. Iraqi TV showed two men it said were the pilots. Seven Americans are now being held as prisoners of war.
In the southern city of Najaf, a sniper killed a U.S. soldier, and a British Royal Marine was slain near Basra as he tried to calm a riot. Meanwhile, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein appeared in a televised speech in which he vowed that “victory will soon be ours.” Iraqi officials said 62 civilians had been killed in the last 24 hours.
Four Iraqi missiles were fired at Kuwait. All were destroyed by U.S. Patriot missiles.
In western Iraq, bombs from a U.S. jet hit a bus carrying civilian workers to neighboring Syria, killing five and injuring 10.
In Washington, the White House said President Bush planned to ask Congress for nearly $75 billion to pay for the war against Iraq, strengthen anti-terrorism defenses at home and other related costs.