Iraqis kill their own officers
London (PTI): To avoid a “fruitless” fight over oil terminals, Iraqi conscript soldiers on the Al Faw Peninsula shot their own officers, whose bodies were found by British troops.
The British commandos moving into Iraq found a bunker full of dead Iraqi officers with spent shells from an AK-47 rifle around them, The Times reported.
The officers were shot in the chest at the oil terminals on the peninsula in southern Iraq, it said.
“Stuck between US troops and elite British Royal Marines, whom they did not want to fight, and an Iraqi regime that would kill them if they refused, it was the conscripts’ only way out,” the daily said.
The British commandos took over 100 PoWs yesterday, including a general in the Iraqi army and a brigadier. They came out from hiding in a bunker after being fired upon.
London (AP): The British Broadcasting Corporation has apologised for mistakenly broadcasting images of President George W. Bush having his hair styled and his makeup applied just before he went on television to tell Americans war in Iraq was underway.
BBC World, which broadcasts around the world, and the network’s channels in Britain showed up to a minute of the footage before cutting away, a spokesman said. The Washington Post said the video also showed the President squirming in his chair and practising reading from a teleprompter.
CBS was transmitting a video feed to other broadcasters from the White House ahead of Wednesday’s sombre address, but it was not supposed to air until the President was ready.
Washington: Weekend polls showed a surge in public approval ratings of President George W. Bush since the start of the war.
A poll by ABC and Washington Post gave the President a job approval rating at 67 per cent while a CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll showed 70 per cent support for Bush. This is an increase from pre-war polls with approval ratings between 50 to 60 per cent.
Bush has been aided by images in the American media repeatedly showing Iraqis in the southern town of Safwan greeting US soldiers and tearing down Saddam Hussein posters or using shoes to slap their President’s face on the posters.
Gas mask alert
Southern Iraq (AFP): Iraqi soldiers in the south were found carrying new gas masks, a sign that Saddam Hussein might be planning chemical attacks, a British officer said.
The discovery was reported by Lieutenant Colonel Buster Howes of the 42 Commando Royal Marines who are currently securing the Al Faw Peninsula on the third day of their drive to oust Saddam.
Among the rundown weapons, ammunition and machinery found with the dead or captured Iraqis were some new respirators, with an expiry date of 2007, Howes said. “This is a dark discovery and a stark warning to my men,” the officer said. “But we are all very well drilled against the threat and cannot let it stop us in our mission.”