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Umm Qasr port opened for shipping
March 25, 2003 17:57 IST
British forces on Tuesday declared the deep-sea port of Umm Qasr in southern Iraq safe and open for shipping, BBC reported.
The port and the nearby town had been declared captured on the second day of the invasion last Friday.
But soon the American forces which had taken the town began to discover pockets of fierce resistance.
The allies initially decided not to enter the town in keeping with its policy of avoiding debilitating urban warfare and heading straight for the capital Baghdad to overthrow the government of President Saddam Hussein.
But as the attacks by resistance fighters became more frequent, the Americans called in the Royal Marines to take charge of the fighting.
The British forces then entered the town and began operations to flush out the Iraqi troops hiding there.
Umm Qasr is Iraq's only deep-sea port and is crucial to the invading forces' plan of bring in humanitarian assistance to the people of Iraq, whom they claim to be liberating from Saddam Hussein's rule.