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Pentagon: U.S. forces enter presidential palace

'We can go where we want, when we want'

From Brian Rokus

A U.S. tank passes by one of Saddam Hussein's palaces on the banks of the Tigris River in Baghdad on Monday.

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The Lebanese Broadcast Company broadcast video of the inside of a presidential palace occupied by U.S. troops in Baghdad (April 7)
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A Pentagon official said U.S. forces had entered one of Saddam Hussein's presidential palace compounds in the Iraqi capital early Monday.

"It can't be anything but alarming to see a [coalition] brigade commander standing in the compound of a presidential palace in Baghdad," the official said.

He called the action a "show of force," designed "to demonstrate U.S. resolve that includes increased visibility of U.S. forces.

"This sends a powerful message to the remnants of the regime that we can go where we want, when we want," the official said.

He refused to speculate on whether the U.S. forces were planning to hold these positions permanently.

Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf denied U.S. troop advances as he stood in the streets of Baghdad on Monday morning amid the U.S. raid. (Full story)

"The soldiers of Saddam Hussein have given them a lesson they will never forget," he said. "Those in Washington, they have sent their troops to be burned."

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