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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Fighting Continues Near Basra

Aired March 31, 2003 - 03:47   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to check in near Basra. We're going to do that with a British reporter, Andrew Harding. He is embedded with British troops just outside the city and he joins us live now.
Andrew, hello.

ANDREW HARDING, BRITISH POOL REPORTER: Hi, Daryn.

This morning the British Royal Marines are back in action trying to finish off the job that they began yesterday morning, this "Operation James" that we've been hearing about. That is going on right at this moment. We understand the commandos trying to take out a couple of last pockets of Iraqi resistance that were causing trouble yesterday. Helicopters and tanks and artillery, once again, in action.

We understand as well that British forces, British patrols are already on the streets of Abu al-Qassib. This is the suburb basically of Basra that was overrun yesterday by British forces. We don't believe that humanitarian aid has yet been brought in in any large amount because there are still Iraqi forces. And presumably the commandos want to carry on fighting before they start the job of looking after the civilian population there.

KAGAN: Andrew, can you tell us more about "Operation James?" We've reported that this is named after James Bond, the fictional spy character, but why make that connection?

HARDING: Daryn, the map (UNINTELLIGIBLE) here are littered with new names, new code words every day, and presumably somebody just came up with the idea of calling it after Bond movies. So you have Pussy Galore, you have all sorts of other links. You have Sean Connery and so on, names that are linked to the Bond movies. Presumably tomorrow, they'll think of something else to name their targets and their regions after.

KAGAN: All right. The British whit well known making its way into the headlines even during such a dire and difficult situation.

Andrew Harding, near Basra, thank you. We'll be checking back with you.

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