- The Washington Times - Friday, March 21, 2003

BAGHDAD, Iraq, March 21 (UPI) — Baghdad was calm Friday morning after overnight bombardments by cruise missiles that caused powerful explosions.

Car owners were out, driving through the capital's streets and across the bridges over the Tigris river.

Electricity, water, telephones and fuel continued to be available to the city's 4.5 million people. Iraqis had feared that basic services would halt in the first hours of the war as happened in 1991 during the Persian Gulf War.

Friday was the second day of the war that began at dawn Thursday when dozens of cruise missiles slammed into several parts of the Iraqi capital. An army spokesman said 72 missiles struck the city Thursday.

Baghdadis availed themselves of their telephone service to check on the safety of family and friends after air strikes and drove their cars to get food and other basic commodities.

Bakeries were open Friday morning as well as a number of food stores, after Interior Minister Mahmud Diab al-Ahmad denied reports that a curfew had been imposed on Baghdad.

With the city's main markets closed, fruit and vegetable vendors roamed the streets, selling their produce door-to- door.

Four official newspapers al-Thawra, al-Jumhuriya, al-Qadissiya and Iraq, appeared on the newsstands on Friday, but were reduced to four pages. Babel, run by President Saddam Hussein's eldest son, Uday, was not affected by the restriction on size.

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