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War Tracker: March 26, 2003

• In a move that appeared to be the precursor to opening a northern front, about 1,000 U.S. paratroopers parachuted into a Kurdish-controlled area early Thursday local time. The paratroopers, from the U.S. Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade, secured an airfield for coalition use. Securing the airfield will allow more coalition troops and armor to be brought in, as well as humanitarian supplies. Full Story | 173rd Airborne Brigade
• The U.S. military gave conflicting reports over whether Iraqi Republican Guard troops were moving south toward Najaf. CNN Correspondent Walter Rodgers cited sources as saying 1,000 Iraqi armored vehicles left the Baghdad area. But a senior defense official said such accounts appeared to be based on inaccurate intelligence. Full Story
• U.S. war planners may have miscalculated the strength and capability of Iraq's paramilitary fighters, one Pentagon official said Wednesday for the first time. One knowledgeable official told CNN that "I think we underestimated" the Saddam Fedayeen, a group of paramilitary fighters said to be loyal to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's son Uday. Full Story
• Coalition forces have moved more than 220 miles into Iraqi territory in six days despite inclement weather, the Pentagon said.
Gallery: Photos of war | Animation: Battle scenarios
• U.S. Central Command confirmed precision-guided weapons were used to attack nine missiles and launchers in a residential area of Baghdad. Military officials say they don't know whether any of those weapons went astray, causing civilian casualties in a marketplace as claimed by the Iraqi government. Full Story
• British aircraft bombed a column of about 70 Iraqi armored vehicles as it made its way south of Basra toward Umm Qasr, a port city now under coalition control. Coalition officials were not sure whether the column represented a counterattack on the Umm Qasr area or a tactical retreat from Basra. Full Story
• Coalition jets pounded a ridge outside the northeastern Iraqi city of Chamchamal early Wednesday, destroying an Iraqi command-and-control bunker, next to a road leading to Kirkuk.
• Coalition deaths in the Iraq war now total 47.
Killed in Action: List of coalition fatalities
• Iraqi officials say at least 93 civilians have died since the U.S.-led invasion began. Hundreds have been wounded, the Iraqi government said. On Wednesday, Iraqi officials said U.S. munitions killed 15 Iraqi civilians at a popular market in Baghdad. CNN cannot independently verify Iraq's figures.
Munitions, aircraft and ground weapons used in U.S.-led attacks
Apache attack helicopter | A-10 Thunderbolt
More weapons
Sadler: Iraqi opposition wants greater role
Savidge: 'Pitched battle that went on'
Chilcote: Sandstorm paralyzes copters
Gupta: Chaotic day for 'Devil Docs'
More On the Scene reports


Source: Pentagon, CNN. Numbers are estimates.
• Seven battered trucks arrived in the southern Iraqi port of Umm Qasr Wednesday, delivering about 12 tons of much-needed humanitarian aid.
Full Story | Audio Slide Show: Aid for Iraq
Explore U.S. war plans and tactics
with CNN's military analysts

Clark: Quick victory 'not going to happen'
Grange: Iraqis fight with 'economy of force'
Map: Major flash points
Grange: Treatment of POWs a violation
Grange: Teams keep an eye out for troops
Generals: Dangerous road to Baghdad
March 25: Firefight in sandstorm
March 24: Advancing on Baghdad
March 23: Battle at Nasiriya
March 22: Halfway to Baghdad
March 21: U.S.: Iraq in 'disarray'
March 20: Troops push into Iraq
March 19: 'Decapitation attack'

EDITOR'S NOTE: CNN's policy is to not report information that puts operational security at risk.
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