04/04/2003

British forces tighten grip around Basra

British forces have tightened their grip around Iraq's second largest city, Basra, after another foray into the enemy stronghold today.

Journalists embedded with the British vanguard report that the Desert Rats and elements of the Irish Guards advanced to four miles of the city's centre following the operation.

There was a sharp encounter with Iraqi defenders and the advancing force was attacked with grenades and smalls arms fire. However, the British overcame the resistance and later withdrew with 12 Iraqi army prisoners.

Elsewhere, five people have been killed in a suspected suicide bomb attack in southern Iraq.

Three Coalition soldiers were manning a checkpoint last night when a civilian vehicle approached. A woman reportedly got out of the vehicle and began screaming, before the explosion occurred. Five bodies have been recovered, although it is not yet clear what nationality the deceased were.

(GMcG)

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