- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 22, 2003

BAGHDAD, Iraq, March 22 (UPI) — Iraq admitted Saturday that U.S. and British forces managed to crawl into the city of Faw in the southern tip of Iraq, but insisted that Iraqi artillery inflicted great losses on the allied forces.

An Iraqi military statement issued in Baghdad, said U.S. forces tried to parachute into the al-Waleed base, near the border with Jordan, in the Nakheeb area of the Western desert.

It statement added that Iraqi marines launched "fierce strikes against the invading forces in Kuwait," adding that these forces "tried to pull the Iraqi army into side battles as it was benefiting from air superiority and from the open desert ground. But these attempts failed."

The statement said that Iraqi forces on Friday launched al-Sumoud, al-Tareq and Fateh missiles at U.S. and British troops in Kuwait.

Meanwhile, Iraq's Defense Minister, General Sultan Hashem Ahmad, said in a news conference in Baghdad on Friday night that U.S. forces managed to enter the Port of Um Qasr overlooking the Persian Gulf.

He said as cruise missiles were pounding on Baghdad that U.S. Marine helicopters also carried out surveillance flights over al-Rutba, an area close to the western borders with Syria and Jordan.

He said these patrols were in the area to look for any movements of missile launchers aimed towards Israel.

The minister added that in the south, "invading forces moved west of Safwan towards the Rumailah (oil) fields, which are being defended by the Iraqi 704 Unit, which is considered one of the best."

Baghdad on Friday night witnessed one of the fiercest cruise missile attacks since the U.S. launched the war on Iraq in the early hours of Thursday.

Information Minister Mohammad Saeed al-Sahhaf appeared on state-owned Iraq Television on Friday night speaking about al-Salam Palace, a palace reserved for visiting officials, which was bombarded during Friday night's air strikes.

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