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Deafening explosions have been rocking Baghdad early Sunday as
Iraqi troops, militias and teenagers eager to protect their nation
from invaders all patrol the streets of their capital.

After a brief U.S. incursion into the city early Saturday, Iraqi leaders are maintaining a bold front. Officials deny that U.S. troops came any closer than the suburbs, and say Iraqi forces have retaken the airport, killing hundreds of American "scoundrels.'' A statement from Saddam Hussein says, ''Today, the tide has turned.'' Saddam is urging fighters to rush the Americans and ''increase the depth of their wounds.''

U.S. military officials say U.S. troops traveled north into the capital Saturday, turned west at the Tigris River, then out of the city and toward the airport. During the sweep, the Americans came under intense fire from Republican Guards with small arms and rocket propelled grenades.

Pentagon officials say the U.S. military owns the skies over Iraq. The commander of the air war in Iraq wants to keep it that way as U.S. ground forces prepare for a possible major invasion of Baghdad. To prepare for that, Lieutenant General Michael Moseley says U.S. planes are now on station over Baghdad 24 hours a day. These planes
would then call in bombers and strike fighters to hit any target in the Iraqi capital.

Moseley says he prays an urban battle won't happen. But he says the remnants of the Saddam Hussein regime face a harsh choice,
surrender or get killed. He adds, coalition air attacks have killed so many Iraqi troops that the Republican Guard no longer exists as a large fighting force.


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