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Operation Iraqi Freedom - April 8
Day Twenty

U.S. Army forces in downtown Baghdad consolidated their hold on the west bank of the Tigris River. An Iraqi counterattack was mounted from the east bank of the river. Iraqi troops reportedly crossed bridges in buses, trucks, and armored personnel carriers. Elements of the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized), with USAF close air support, destroyed many of the vehicles. Observers estimated that hundreds of Iraqi fighters had been killed.

One of the A-10 aircraft executing the CAS missions was hit by a SAM, initially reported as a Roland missile. The aircraft was hit near Saddam International Airport, and the pilot ejected and was recovered in good condition by Coalition forces.

During the fighting in central Baghdad, two journalists were killed when a round from a U.S. tank struck the Palestine Hotel, where many foreign journalists were staying. Several journalists were also wounded in the incident. A third journalist with Al-Jazeera television was killed when the station's baghdad bureauwas bombed in a U.S. air raid. U.S. military official denied the incidents to be intentional and justified the response against the Palestine Hotel as being a response to small-arms and rocket-propelled-grenade fire emanating from the building. The hotel was, however, well-known to be a residence for foreign correspondents. US Central Command, after wrapping up its own investigation, in a report released on August 12, 2003, cleared itself of any wrongdoing and concluded that the action was fully in accordance with the Rules of Engagement.

On the east side of Baghdad, the 1st Marine Division completed its crossing of the Diyala River. Marines also captured the Rasheed Air Base in the eastern environs of the city. Marine forces also captured the headquarters of the Iraqi 10th Division.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:25:32 Zulu