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Iraqi TV resumes after brief knockout by missile

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A haze of smoke surrounds the area near the Iraqi TV buildings after an airstrike by U.S. coalition forces.

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraqi television resumed broadcasting in Iraq on Wednesday, after a pre-dawn coalition missile strike hit its Baghdad headquarters.

A coalition Tomahawk land-air missile struck Iraq's national television building early Wednesday, as well as a key telecom vault and a group of buildings housing Baghdad Satellite Communications, the U.S. Central Command confirmed.

CentCom said the strike effectively took away command and control capabilities from President Saddam Hussein's regime.

The Pentagon earlier said Iraqi TV was on the U.S.-led coalition's list of intended targets.

The blasts were heard around 4:55 a.m. (8:55 p.m. ET Tuesday). Afterward, smoke was seen rising from an area near buildings housing Iraqi TV and Iraq's Ministry of Information.

Iraqi TV's satellite signal has been intermittent since the explosions, and the station's domestic land signal was off the air until around 9:30 a.m. (1:30 a.m. ET).

Earlier this week, other Iraq-based satellite channels -- including one channel of "Youth TV," owned by Saddam Hussein's son, Uday -- have gone off the air, believed to be the result of coalition strikes.

A senior U.S. official in Washington said Iraq's state-run television "was not taken out on Day One for a reason ... We learn from it."

But "at some point (it was) always part of a list of regime targets," the official said.

Part of the debate about whether to take out the television network was whether the Iraqi government's use of the network was a bigger problem than the coalition's eventual need for it after a war when it needs to communicate with the Iraqi people.

"We can get something of that level up fairly quickly," the official said.

CNN correspondents Jamie McIntyre and John King contributed to this report.


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