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Iraq: Massive Bombardment Of Baghdad Begins

Baghdad, 21 March 2003 (RFE/RL) -- A series of giant explosions detonated in Baghdad tonight. White and orange flashes lit the sky and smoke billowed over Iraq's capital city. Reuters said President Saddam Hussein's presidential complex was bombarded and is in flames. It was not immediately clear what was targeted in the strikes, though a complex of government buildings were heavily hit, including the Information Ministry.

Air raid sirens preceded the explosions.

Correspondents on the scene say tracers are streaking across the sky. Sporadic antiaircraft fire can be heard. U.S. defense officials had earlier said tonight would be the start of the main aerial assault on Iraq.