Iraqi Information Minister Mohammad Said al-Sahhaf insisted on Saturday that coalition troops had been chased out of Saddam International Airport, which they had seized the day before.
"The Republican Guard is in full control of Saddam International Airport," Sahhaf insisted.
"We have defeated them, in fact we have crushed them. We have pushed them outside the whole area of the airport.
"The whole trend has been changed. The operation is moving in our interests and I think we are going to finalise soon."
He said suicide attacks had been launched on the American forces, part of the "not conventional" methods he predicted yesterday.
"We will continue concentrating on those mercenaries until we slaughter them," Sahhaf promised.
"Yesterday we nailed them down and since dawn we are attacking them and they are surrounded."
He claimed that while the American forces had been unable "to establish connection with other columns", they were still "firing from time to time with light artillery".
Sahhaf also announced: "We have destroyed four armoured personnel carriers and we have shot down an American warplane and a Cobra helicopter," adding "they have admitted that."
US commanders acknowledged that a Cobra helicopter had come down in Iraq with the loss of two air crew. US officers also said that a tank commander was killed and two other service personnel wounded in a dawn drive on the heart of Baghdad from the airport.