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US troops enter Baghdad
April 06, 2003 06:16 IST
For the first time in the war in Iraq, a small contingent of US ground troops entered Baghdad on Saturday morning, military officials were quoted as saying.
As the troops went from street to street in search of Iraqi fighters, the bulk of the US Army's Third Division was maintaining its control over the Baghdad airport against a small counter attack, NBC television reported.
With the Marines to the southeast also pressing towards the capital, thousands of residents began streaming out of
Iraqi officials continued to insist that their troops had control of the international airport in Baghdad.
Iraqi television on Saturday showed President Saddam Hussein chairing a meeting of his war cabinet. His two sons were also present.
In a statement read on Iraqi TV by Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, Hussein urged his countrymen to resist and destroy the US forces.
US forces reported encountering pockets of resistance in some parts of the outskirts of the city.
US commanders said their tanks on Saturday entered Baghdad in a move meant to show the people that they could enter the Iraqi capital at will.
Meanwhile, terming the US-led war on Iraq as 'unilateral', Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Saturday called for strengthening of the United Nations, saying the 'world will not approve of unilateral decisions'.
He questioned US claims about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction saying: "No government has the right to have weapon that kills lakhs of people, but does Iraq has that kind of weapon?"