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US, British forces capture Safwan

US and UK forces took over the town of Safwan in southern Iraq and the strategic Gulf port of Umm Qasr on Friday.

india Updated: Mar 22, 2003 09:57 IST

US and British forces took over the town of Safwan in southern Iraq and the strategic Gulf port of Umm Qasr on Friday as ground forces rolled toward Baghdad, military officials said.

Meanwhile, the air campaign, which had been limited to selective strikes, escalated dramatically today, with enormous explosions around Baghdad, the capital, and reports of explosions in the northern cities of Mosul and Kirkuk.

"Umm Qasr has been overwhelmed by the US Marines and now is in coalition hands," Adm Michael Boyce, chief of the British defence staff, said in London.

British forces in the area were dealing with "significant numbers" of Iraqi troops who had surrendered, Boyce said, but he could not be more specific.

The ground attack on Umm Qasr followed a night of intense shelling by US and British forces.

First Published: Mar 22, 2003 02:01 IST