Missile hits Kuwait City mall
Rumsfeld warns Syria on military shipments
KUWAIT CITY (CNN) -- A missile struck a closed shopping mall in Kuwait City early Saturday, the first time the capital has been hit since the Iraq war began, Kuwaiti authorities said.
The explosion shook the city center shortly after 1:30 a.m. (5:30 p.m. EST Friday), and smoke billowed across the sky. No warning sirens alerted residents, as is protocol here. One worker suffered minor injuries.
Souq Sharq -- Kuwait's premier mall on the seafront with shops, a movie theater and restaurant -- is near Kuwait's parliament, Foreign Ministry and the Sief Palace, the official seat of the emir of Kuwait.
The theater was heavily damaged, and video showed the main portico with glass doors, dry wall and twisted steel beams scattered across the interior.
The missile's tail was found in a nearby canal and Kuwaiti Information Minister Ahmad Fahd al-Sabah told CNN the missile was a Chinese-made "Silkworm," which Iraq has used in the past.
"This kind of missile usually it flies between 20 to 25 meters over the land. For that, there is no defense system that can reach it," he said.
This was the 13th missile launched from Iraq toward Kuwait in the past week, but most have been knocked out of the sky by Patriot missiles. Two landed in rural areas without causing any injuries. (Full story)
Screaming Eagles penetrate deep into Iraq
Earlier, explosions rocked central Baghdad where it appeared Iraq's Information Ministry may have been hit, and several large blasts were reported in the northern city of Mosul late Friday.
U.S. aircraft attacked and destroyed a two-story building in Basra where an estimated 200 Iraqi militiamen were meeting Friday, the U.S. Central Command said early Saturday.
Two U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles, using laser-guided munitions, destroyed the building, which a Central Command official described as an "emerging target." The men inside were described as "Iraqi regime terror squad members," but it was not clear to what organization they belonged.
In Washington Friday, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld issued a warning to Syria, saying it would be held accountable for shipments of military equipment -- including night-vision goggles -- that have been moved across the border into Iraq.
He also warned any country against sending any "military forces, intelligence personnel or proxies" into Iraq that are not under the control of Gen. Tommy Franks, chief of the U.S. Central Command.
The secretary specifically mentioned the Badr Corps, troops "trained, equipped and directed by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard."
Rumsfeld said Badr Corps troops would be considered "combatants" and said the coalition "would hold the Iranian government responsible for their actions." (Full story)
Early Friday morning, the U.S. 101st Airborne Division, the famed Screaming Eagles, made what military officials called a "huge inroad" deep into Iraq, sending scores of soldiers far into the country via an air convoy of 200 helicopters from Kuwait, a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel correspondent with the troops reported.
Later in the day, 101st Airborne soldiers made their first attack deep inside Iraq, using dozens of helicopters to hit an Iraqi armored brigade about 100 miles southwest of Baghdad. Coalition planes were also involved in the attack, which destroyed a number of Iraqi tanks.
Two of the helicopters made hard landings during the operation, leaving one pilot with a broken leg. (Full story)
The chief of general staff for the British army, Gen. Mike Jackson, told reporters Friday that Iraqi forces were "pinned down" in the southern part of the country.
Coalition forces trying to secure Basra, Iraq's second largest city, have been engaged in running battles with Iraqi irregulars, some wearing civilian clothes.
Earlier Friday, Iraqi militia fired on Iraqi civilians trying to flee Basra across a bridge toward British lines, British military officials said. (Full story)
In the southern city of Nasiriya Friday, three U.S. Marine infantry battalions continued to face Iraqi resistance.
However, the northern and southern portions of the city were now occupied by Marines, and Col. Ron Johnson, operations officer for the Marines' Task Force Tarawa, said they were "very close to controlling Nasiriya and making it secure."
The city has been the scene of the fiercest fighting U.S. Marines have been involved in since Vietnam, senior Marines told CNN.
Bodies of some of the Marines killed in five days of fighting at Nasiriya were finally recovered Friday, but four more Marines were reported missing. On Thursday, 12 Marines were reported missing, bringing the total number of missing U.S. servicemen to 26. (Full story)
Earlier Friday, U.S. officials said airstrikes had knocked out one-third of Iraq's elite Republican Guard's Medina Division south of Baghdad, and other divisions were moving in from the west and north to reinforce it.
The Republican Guard was working to protect Baghdad from a ground invasion. U.S. officials have said the battles with the Republican Guard will likely be some of the bloodiest of the war.
In Baghdad Friday, a hospital official claimed 52 Iraqi civilians had been killed and more than 30 wounded in an airstrike on a residential neighborhood about 6 p.m. (10 a.m. EST). Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf condemned the strike as a "crime" by the U.S.-led coalition. (Full story)
A spokesman for the U.S. Central Command in Qatar said the reported strike could not be confirmed until a battle damage assessment was complete. However, a Pentagon official later said there had been a scheduled strike against a surface-to-surface missile launcher nearby.
In northern Iraq, U.S.-led airstrikes targeted Iraqi troops along a ridge near a Kurdish-controlled area for a second day, following overnight attacks on the nearby city of Mosul. (Full story)
• The U.N. Security Council Friday unanimously adopted a resolution to restart Iraq's oil-for-food program. The Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday's passage of a U.N. Security Council resolution approving the resumption of humanitarian assistance to Iraq does not legitimize the war there.
• About 2,000 Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit have landed in Kuwait, officials said Friday. The Marines were moving equipment and personnel ashore in preparations for missions as needed, said Gunnery Sgt. Mike Dougherty, a spokesman with the unit.
• Iraqi President Saddam Hussein Friday urged his people to seize coalition vehicles. "When citizens seize vehicles belonging to the enemy," Saddam said, "the citizen can claim that vehicle as loot or a prize or hand it to over to the government, and the government will pay for the prize to the citizen."
• Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz admitted Friday that military officials may have underestimated "the number of execution squads" and the scope of deceptive tactics such as fake surrenders that Iraqi fighters have employed against coalition forces and Iraqi civilians. (Full story) (Tactics)
• A British ship carrying nearly 200 tons of humanitarian supplies arrived at the port city of Umm Qasr, a day after concerns about mines delayed its arrival. Officials said that they want to get humanitarian food and medical supplies into Basra, Iraq's second-largest city as soon as possible. (Full story, audio slide show on the aid delays)
• The first wave of about 30,000 soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division and other unidentified units based at Fort Hood, Texas, were expected to deploy in the next few days, Pentagon officials told CNN. Another 100,000 ground troops will be deployed to the region next month, most of them in armored divisions and mechanized units. Officials said the deployments represent a continuation of the Pentagon's plan.
• President Bush has "some level of frustration with the press corps" for accounts questioning the war plan, a senior administration official said Friday. The official says Bush finds it "silly" that such skepticism and questions are being raised just days into a conflict he says is going quite well. (Full story)
• Fifty U.S. and British military personnel have been confirmed killed since the conflict began. (Coalition casualties)
CNN Correspondents Diana Muriel, Christiane Amanpour, Tom Mintier, Nic Robertson, Walter Rodgers, Brent Sadler, Martin Savidge, Barbara Starr and Alessio Vinci contributed to this report.
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