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500 Iraqis killed in fight for bridge: US

Iraqi troops sufferred the casualties on Thursday as US forces repelled a bid to take back a key bridge over the Euphrates River, 30 km from Baghdad, a US officer said.

india Updated: Apr 03, 2003 13:03 IST

About 500 Iraqi troops were killed on Thursday as US forces repelled a bid to take back a key bridge over the Euphrates River some 30 kilometers southwest of Baghdad, a US officer said.

"In the attack for this bridge and the counter-attacks, probably 500 died," Major John Altman, an intelligence officer with the 1st brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division told AFP.

Meanwhile,US-led coalition warplanes were heard above Baghdad on day 15 of the war as powerful explosions rocked the outskirts of the Iraqi capital, an AFP correspondent reported.

The heavy bombardment, which had kept pounding the city overnight, continued into the mid-morning hours. AFP reporters in the city say the US and British air strikes have intensified in the past few days.

But no explosions were heard from the centre of Baghdad, the seat of President Saddam Hussein's 24-year grip on power, and his presidential compound on the banks of the Tigris River was left unscathed for the first time in days.

The United States and Britain launched the war to topple Saddam on March 20, and their warplanes have been pounding positions of his elite Republican Guard defending the approaches to the city.

First Published: Apr 03, 2003 13:03 IST