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On 23 March, the Iraqi embassy in Beijing issued to the media in Beijing a press statement on the status of the US-Iraqi war. The statement said: This morning, Iraqi troops launched an attack on US-British coalition troops in the Umm Qasr region. As of this moment, the fierce fighting is still going on. Iraqi troops destroyed 21 missiles fired by US troops, of which two bore the mark of being made in Israel.
In the Najaf desert region, Iraqi troops destroyed 16 tanks and armoured vehicles of the coalition troops. In the Nasiriyah desert, large numbers of US and British tanks and military equipment were destroyed.
In the outskirts of Baghdad, a US-British warplane was shot down. The statement said that a spokesman of the Iraqi military had dismissed the rumour that the commander of the 51st division of the Iraqi troops had surrendered.
The statement said: Savage and indiscriminate bombings of residential areas and cities of Al Basrah Province carried out by US-British coalition troops have resulted in the deaths of 50 residents, among which many were children, women, and elderly people. At the same time, eight bombings have been carried out against civilians in Baghdad. The situation in Mosul is the same.
Copyright Chinese news agency Zhongguo Xinwen She and BBC Monitoring 2003. For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .