Day 17 April 5, 3003
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Saddam regime executes senior officers

LONDON Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is said to have ordered the execution of several senior officers who had refused to kill Iraqi civilians in a dirty tricks operation.

The Iraqi National Congress said four Republican Guard officers were executed for refusing to attack a street in Baghdad and ensure the deaths of a large number of civilians. The Iraqi opposition said the Saddam regime wanted to make it appear that the civilian deaths were caused by coalition forces.

After the execution, other Republican Guard officers attacked the Baghdad street, called Shu'la Street. Several civilians were killed in the attack by Saddam's forces.

The INC said two colonels were among those executed.

U.S. troops reach downtown Baghdad

U.S. troops have begun moving through downtown Baghdad.

U.S. officials said members of the 3rd Infantry Division drove through the center of the Iraqi capital on Saturday. They said the unit did not sustain casualties.

"This was an operation conducted by two task forces of the 3rd Infantry Division," Maj. Gen. Eugene Renuart, chief of operations for Central Command, said. "They had been south of the city and conducted a raid through the city, proceeding north to the Tigris River and then continuing out to the west in the direction of the airport."

Officials said the show of force by U.S. troops was meant to demonstrate to residents of Baghdad that the regime of President Saddam Hussein had lost control. But officials stressed that militias loyal to Saddam continue to stage attacks on coalition forces around the city.

Russia plans to send warships to Gulf

MOSCOW Russia plans to send warships to the Persian Gulf. Officials said the Defense Ministry will send naval vessels to Arabian Sea later this month. They said India and Russia will then conduct a naval exercise.

The Moscow-based Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper said Russia was preparing the groundwork for intervention in the Gulf, particularly in Iraq. The newspaper said this could include the occupation of the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr.

In February, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Moscow was considering a naval battle force of 10 warships, including submarines and large landing craft vessels.

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