Eighteen Iraqi border guards surrender to US army in Kuwait: military source Wed Mar 19, 2:24 PM ET IN THE NORTHERN KUWAITI DESERT (AFP) - Eighteen Iraqi border guards crossed the border into Kuwait and surrendered to US troops, a military source in the emirate told AFP. AFP Photo A US officer here had earlier said 15 Iraqi soldiers had surrendered, while the state KUNA news agency, quoting a Kuwaiti military source, put the number at 16. The military source who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity said the 18 had crossed the border in two batches -- the first comprising two border guards and the second 16.&nbsp;<br>
The US officer earlier said the 15 Iraqis who turned themselves in to US troops had been handed over to Kuwaiti police. They were handed over after laying down their arms and giving up, said Captain Darrin Theriault, headquarters company commander of the First Brigade of the US Army's Third Infantry Division. The surrenders, at about 1500 GMT, came as a 48-hour ultimatum given by President George W. Bush (news - web sites) to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) to leave his country by early Thursday or face a massive attack was running out. "We anticipate more (surrenders) as this continues to develop," Theriault told AFP. He stressed that the Kuwaiti police had custody of the Iraqi soldiers and "no enemy prisoners of war are under US control." The United States and Britain have some 280,000 troops mustered in the region readying an invasion of Iraq (news - web sites) after Saddam rejected Bush's warning to quit the country. About 174,000 are in Kuwait.&nbsp;<br>
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US warplanes launch strikes at seven locations in southern Iraq Wed Mar 19, 5:29 PM ET WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States and Britain conducted wide-ranging air strikes in southern and western Iraq (news - web sites), bombing long-range artillery and a surface-to-surface missile system that threatened coalition forces poised to invade the country from Kuwait, officials said. AFP Photo The warplanes struck at least seven locations over a 10 hour period as the clock ran on a US deadline for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) and his two sons to leave the country or face war. US and British officials said the strikes were within the scope of normal enforcement of a no-fly zone over southern Iraq, and the US Central Command said they were launched in response to Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery fire. But the strikes targeted 10 artillery systems that had been moved last week into range of US and British forces massing in Kuwait for a ground offensive as well as a surface-to-surface missile system, a US defense official said. The Central Command said long range artillery were struck at Az Zubayr and in the Al Faw peninsula, and a surface-to surface missile system near Basra. Warplanes also bombed a traffic control radar near Basra and communications sites near Ash Shuaybah, Mydaysis and Ruwayshid in southern Iraq. "The artillery was struck because they were a danger to coalition ground troops in Kuwait," the command said. "The air traffic control radar was used to direct Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery fire at coalition aircraft." In western Iraq, they targeted a radar and an air defense command center near the H-3 airfield that defends the approaches to Baghdad from Jordan, the command said. "The coalition executed today's strikes after Iraqi forces fired anti-aircraft artillery at coalition aircraft patrolling the southern no-fly zone south of the 33rd parallel in Iraq," the command said. In London, a spokeswoman for the British Defence Ministry said, "We are flying over southern Iraq. This evening we are targeting systems which are a threat to our forces." "We have been doing this for the last 10 years. It's the same as we've been doing, but obviously the time is perhaps more relevant," the official said.&nbsp;<br>
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