The commander of coalition forces in Iraq, General Tommy Franks, says allied ground forces are within 100 kilometers of Baghdad on multiple southern fronts.
During his news conference in Qatar on Sunday , General Franks denied US troops were pausing on their way to the Iraqi capital. He said the invasion was making "remarkable" progress but could not say when it would end.
Meanwhile, military and communications sites in Baghdad are coming under repeated attack from coalition air raids. At night, a huge fire raged close to central Baghdad. The raids are also targeting elite Republican Guard troops guarding the approaches to the capital.
Iraq's information minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf says Iraqi forces have shot down at least one US helicopter, and killed two pilots. The Pentagon says no helicopters are known to be missing.
Meanwhile, in southern Iraq, British forces are reporting progress in their efforts to secure the second largest city, Basra. A British military spokesman says British commandos captured an Iraqi general, and killed a colonel of the Republican Guard during fighting outside Basra. Several paramilitary leaders were also captured.
Fierce fighting is also being reported in and around Najaf, about 150 kilometers south of Baghdad.
Since the war began, U-S officials say 37 American soldiers have been killed and 14 others are missing. Iraq says it is holding seven U-S prisoners of war. Twenty-three British soldiers have been killed.
It is not known how many Iraqi fighters have died in combat. Iraqi officials say more than 400 civilians have been killed and more than four-thousand wounded.