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Iraq: U.S. Troops Conduct Raid In Baghdad

Baghdad, 5 April 2003 (RFE/RL) -- RFE/RL's correspondent in Baghdad reports that dozens of U.S. tanks and armored troop carriers conducted a raid today through the center of Baghdad. Lieutenant Colonel Eric Wesley said the purpose of the so-called "thunder run" was to force Iraqi Republican Guard units to expose their positions in central Baghdad.

The British Sky television network showed groups of Iraqi civilians welcoming the troop along a Baghdad street littered with wrecks of Iraqi tanks and motor vehicles.

The raid drove straight north into the Iraqi capital on the west side of the Euphrates River. One U.S. troop carrier was destroyed by Iraqi fire and one U.S. tank's engine caught on fire.

U.S. Major Joffrey Watson told RFE/RL the headquarters of the Republican Guard's Medina Division was destroyed today by U.S. tanks to the southeast of Baghdad near the town of Suwayran.

Meanwhile, an Iraqi military communique read today on television said that coalition forces were defeated in a battle near Baghdad by Iraqi Army and Fedayeen paramilitary units.

Also today, the U.S. Department of Defense reported that eight dead bodies found during the rescue of a prisoner of war in Iraq were U.S. soldiers.

The Pentagon said in a statement that eight soldiers who were part of an ambushed convoy along with rescued prisoner Private Jessica Lynch have been listed as killed in action.

Two other members of the unit had earlier been listed as killed in action, and another five are believed to remain captured after they appeared on Iraqi television being questioned by their captors.

One of the soldiers killed in action was the first American woman to die in the Iraq war.