Witnesses report sporadic explosions in Baghdad after nightfall, while U-S and British forces tighten their grip on areas around the key Iraqi city of Basra.
Air raid sirens have not sounded in Baghdad for several hours. The city is blanketed in thick smoke after witnesses said Iraq set fire to oil-filled trenches surrounding the capital. Iraqi television today (Saturday) showed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein meeting with his top officials and praising the performance of the Iraqi military.
Meanwhile, U-S Commander General Tommy Franks says he has no plans for a major attack on Basra, because there does not appear to be a large concentration of Iraqi forces there.
Thousands of Iraqi soldiers have surrendered near Basra and General Franks says U-S-led forces have taken as many as two-thousand prisoners of war since the start of military action.
In a briefing, General Franks says the coalition military campaign will be "unlike any other in history."
In another development, a reporter for Britain's Sky News traveling with coalition troops says an Iraqi ambush left four U-S soldiers dead in central Iraq (Saturday). This has not been confirmed. Earlier, British military officials said two Royal Navy helicopters collided over the Persian Gulf, killing the six Britons and one American on board. The officials say the crash did not result from enemy fire.
Also today (Saturday), a U-S military spokesman says coalition forces captured the key Euphrates river crossing point of Nassiriya, 320 kilometers southeast of Baghdad.