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Troops take Basra food warehouse

By CNN Correspondent Mike Boettcher

Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
Soldiers of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards on operation around Basra.

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BASRA, Iraq (CNN) -- Coalition troops have taken a giant food warehouse complex near Basra previously under the control of Iraq's Fedayeen Saddam paramilitary force.

The warehouse is stocked with hundreds of tons of food and had been used as a distribution center under the U.N. oil-for-food program.

Also found were a cache of weapons and documentation that my help in the distribution of the supplies

U.S. Special Forces and British troops Wednesday entered the huge complex, located on the outskirts of Basra, northwest of the center of Iraq's second-largest city, British military forces said.

Troops got to the center by pushing across bridges over a canal west of Basra. The facility had been controlled by the paramilitaries.

Inside the facility, soldiers conducted a room-by-room search and found several hundred tons of food.

Also found were large quantities of cash, weapons and documents relating to the entire food distribution system.

The coalition hopes the material will help alleviate the food shortage problems if and when they take control of Basra. British troops are tightening the ring around Basra in a slow move into the city.

The British are also building a back road to the food distribution center that will enable them to bypass roads on the outskirts of the city.

Meanwhile the battle continues against "venomous" resistance from Iraqi fighters in the city.

For two weeks, the British forces have been consolidating on the western flank of Basra and have been grouping for the past few days on the south.

Gen. Robin Brims, commander of the British land forces in southern Iraq, told CNN: "We're attending to their irregular forces, who at times have been venomous in their resistance." (Full Story)


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