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Agence France-Presse, PTI
Washington, March 20, 2003
The US Defence Department declined on Wednesday all comment on the beginning of a war with Iraq. "We can't discuss operational details -- no comments," said a defence official, mentioning an upcoming address to the nation by US President George W Bush. The United States launched strikes on Iraq late on Wednesday with a series of bombardments, shortly after a US deadline passed for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to leave the country.

The White House announced that war had begun and that Bush would address the world at 10:15 (0315 GMT).

Anti-aircraft batteries were heard firing at warplanes strafing the Iraqi capital, at the start of a military conflict that has shaken the world community.