Operation Iraqi Freedom - April 3
The attack begun by the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) which began yesterday culminated in the capture of portions of Saddam International Airport on the outskirts of Baghdad. After movement through the Karbala Gap and seizure of a bridge over the Euphrates at Yasin al Khudayr yesterday, the division's 1st Brigade Combat Team (BCT) pushed into the outskirts of Iraq's capital during the daylight hours of April 3.
Approaching the airport, C Company, of the 2nd Battalion/7th Infantry engaged two companies of Republican Guard forces. Apparently catching the Iraqi defenders by surprise, tanks of Task Force 3-69 Armor then breached the perimeter of the airport at about 7:30 p.m., local time. As TF 3-69 and other elements of the 1st BCT began to clear the airport from the west, artillery and aircraft attacked Iraqi positions on the eastern side of the facility. The total size of the Iraqi force defending the airport is estimated at 2 tank battalions, 2 mechanized infantry battalions, and 2 "straight leg" infantry battalions.
To the south of Baghdad, other units assigned to V Corps are engaged in security operations and the elimination of Iraqi positions bypassed by the initial thrusts of the 3rd ID (Mech). The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) is reportedly in the area of An Najaf, fighting pockets of Iraqi resistance, while the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division attacked facilities of Iraqi paramilitary and intelligence sites in As Samawah.
Coalition air forces flew more than 1,900 sorties in support of operations April 3. A total of 850 were strike sorties, and 85 percent of those were aimed at Iraqi Republican Guard units. There were about 450 tanker missions, more than 200 airlift missions and about 100 command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
Relief supplies are arriving in Um Qasr, a port at Iraq's southernmost tip.
Coalition forces struck Iraqi Air Force headquarters buildings in central Baghdad at approximately 12:45 p.m. EST Thursday. The buildings are located west of the Tigris River, near the Baghdad/Muthenna airfield. Coalition aircraft struck the buildings with JDAMs.
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