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Northern Iraqi cities of Mosul, Kirkuk bombed

Kurdish sources: Targets include palace, barracks, airfield

From Ben Wedeman and Brent Sadler
CNN

Mosul
A nightscope image shows the attack on Mosul on Saturday.

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SPECIAL REPORT
•  Commanders: U.S. | Iraq
•  Weapons: 3D Models

MOSUL, Iraq (CNN) -- The northern Iraqi cities of Mosul and Kirkuk, major oil-producing centers, were bombed for the third night in a row Saturday night.

Shortly before 5 a.m. Sunday (9 p.m. Saturday EST), all was quiet in Mosul, where bombing was heard regularly throughout the night.

Kurdish intelligence, which has sources in Mosul, told CNN that Saturday's targets included a palace belonging to Saddam Hussein, a main military barracks and the headquarters of Iraqi military intelligence in that city.

The Kirkuk airfield was also targeted. A large air base with many underground bunkers and ammunition storage facilities, the airport could be important to coalition forces in their efforts to secure the northern parts of Iraq.

So far, there is no significant presence of U.S. ground troops in the north.

A top Pentagon official acknowledged Saturday that delays in establishing a northern front in Iraq, caused by prolonged negotiations with Turkey about moving U.S. troops across its territory, means that the security of the oil fields around Kirkuk cannot be assured.

Now that officials have abandoned efforts to secure U.S. basing rights in Turkey, more than 30 cargo ships carrying heavy combat equipment for the 4th Infantry Division, which waited for weeks off Turkey's coast, are beginning to move through the Suez Canal, headed for Kuwait.

However, a top Pentagon official said, "We will still have a northern option at some point," but declined to provide details on when that might happen.

During the next seven days, thousands of U.S. airborne troops are expected to fly into northern Iraq from eastern Jordan, bypassing Turkish airspace, Kurdish sources told CNN.


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