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Key points from April 3 Pentagon briefing


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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Some of the key points covered by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard Myers at Thursday's Pentagon briefing:

Rumsfeld: Efforts to rescue coalition POWs continue.

Rumsfeld: U.S. troops have captured several outlying areas of Baghdad. Air and ground engagements have weakened the Baghdad and Medina divisions of the Iraqi Republican Guard.

Rumsfeld: Damage to Republican Guard units has been so significant that Iraq' military leaders have been "forced to backfill" the defense of Baghdad with regular army units, "which is a sign that they know they're in difficulty."

Rumsfeld:The regime of Saddam was "running out of real soldiers" and was increasingly relying on fighters and death squads who posed as civilians and use civilians as shields. Such fighters, he said, would be treated as war criminals.

Rumsfeld: Still the possibility of "difficult days ahead"

Rumsfeld: Key bridges over the Tigris and Euphrates have been taken by the coalition forces and some have found wires for demolition but not exploded.

Myers: 1,000 sorties flown over the last 48 hours

Myers: Coalition forces control 95 percent of Iraqi airspace and 45 percent of Iraq

Rumsfeld: Some overseas governments are holding out the chance of a "deal" for the existing Iraqi regime. No deal is going to be made and (Myers) such an effort serves only to prolong the war and increase the number of casualties. It is possible the Iraqi regime is holding out this possibility as an incentive for its supporters to stay loyal.

Rumsfeld: Military supplies "continuing" to move from Syria into Iraq. Asked what action the United States might take, Rumsfeld responded, "That's for others to decide."

Rumsfeld: Possibility remains that Iraqi forces would use chemical weapons but Iraqi leadership faces a dilemma because this would end any possibility of a "deal" which it may be using to keep its supporters loyal.

Rumsfeld: Iraqi armed forces should surrender and help rebuild the country but helping to rebuild Iraq and form a new government, Rumsfeld said, is not an option for top members of Saddam's regime. "For the senior leadership, there is no way out ... their fate has been sealed by their actions."

Rumsfeld: Saddam has proven himself to be an enemy of Muslim people. He said Saddam had terrorized Shiite Muslims in his own country. "Saddam Hussein has killed more Muslim people than perhaps any living person on the face of the Earth."


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