US forces 'control' Tikrit

US Marines fought snipers outside a Baghdad hotel as law and order situation improved in the capital.

india Updated: Apr 14, 2003 22:32 IST

US armoured vehicles early on Monday controlled the centre of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown north of Baghdad, and the situation was calm, an AFP correspondent reported.

US Marines fought snipers outside a hotel in Baghdad early on Monday as law and order situation improved in the Iraqi capital.

Five armoured vehicles were deployed in one of the main squares of the town, 180 kilometres north of Baghdad. It was not immediately clear if the soldiers were US marines or infantry.

The town was deserted of Iraqi regular troops and much of its 100,000 population. But a handful of Tikritis emerged from their homes to catch a glimpse of the US troops.

Outside the city centre, witnesses reported gunfire as residents warded off looters, but there was no immediate confirmation.

An official announcement of the fall of Tikrit would signal the symbolic end of Saddam's regime in the US-led war launched on March 20. Tikrit was the last major town not under the control of coalition forces.

First Published: Apr 14, 2003 11:04 IST