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British battle Basra resistance

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

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•  Commanders: U.S. | Iraq
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KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait (CNN) -- British commanders said Wednesday they were confident they would overcome "venomous" resistance fighters and take the southern Iraqi city of Basra.

Gen. Robin Brims, commander of the British land forces in southern Iraq, told CNN his troops were "imposing their will" on conventional Iraqi forces and "irregular" forces -- and were helping support operations. "We can do all three of those things. We're trained for it," he said.

"We're attending to their irregular forces, who at times have been venomous in their resistance."

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.

British forces called in air power Tuesday to try to destroy one of the Iraqi intelligence buildings in Basra, part of the goal to target the structure of the city's ruling Baath party.

Over the past several nights there have been long-range artillery bombardments from British positions south of Basra, striking military targets in the city, reported CNN correspondent Diana Muriel, embedded with the British 7th Armored Brigade near Basra.

Tuesday night she witnessed three large fires coming from the city, but there was no indication from the British forces as to what was hit.

Any time the British forces think they see members of Fedayeen Saddam paramilitary group, or other paramilitaries, they try to target them from the air.

Asked about the failure of Iraqis to rise up against Saddam Hussein's regime, Brims said: "They lived under a regime that they don't like, and I think that until we have removed that regime, we're on probation.

"The message to the Iraqi people is that we're staying here and we're going to get the job done, and I'm a patient man."

-- CNN Senior International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour contributed to this report.

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