The strikes flew even
as planners in the area attempted to determine the results of
the strikes against the Iraqi leadership the day before. Targets
included command and control facilities, early warning radar sites
and surface- to-surface missile systems. Bomb damage assessment
efforts continue as more strikes are hitting Iraq, officials said.
At least 30 oil wells
are on fire as British and American troops secure the oil fields
in southern Iraq, British Defense Minister Geoffrey Hoon said
British officials said
Iraqi saboteurs lit the wells as it became clear that coalition
forces would secure the area. There are hundreds of oil wells
in the area.
Hoon also gave a bit
more detail on the crash of a U.S. Marine CH-46 helicopter crash.
"That helicopter was engaged in an operation led by 3 Commando
Brigade on the Al Faw peninsula in southeastern Iraq," he
said in the House of Commons.
U.S. officials said
there was no indication that enemy fire caused the crash that
killed four U.S. and eight British Marines.
Another U.S. Marine
was killed as his unit entered Iraq on March 20, U.S. officials
As the operation continued,
the Royal Marines encountered some resistance, Hoon said. "The
tip of the peninsula was secured as planned," he said. "Some
resistance, including the use of mortars and artillery, has been
encountered and there was a small-scale engagement with individual
Iraqi troops resulting in four known Iraqi fatalities."
Throughout the operation,
Royal Navy ships including the frigates HMS Chatham and HMS Marlborough
provided naval gunfire support to 3 Commando Brigade, he said.
The British and U.S.
Marines secured the port of Umm Qasr, Hoon said.
Three U.S. ships and
two British submarines launched about 50 Tomahawk land attack
missiles against targets in Baghdad on March 20. The ships were
the Aegis destroyer USS John S. McCain and attack submarines USS
Columbia and USS Providence. The British submarines were the HMS
Turbulent and the HMS Splendid.