BATTLE OF NAJAF: Reuters reports US troops killed hundreds of Iraqi soldiers near the city of Najaf south of Baghdad without losing a man.

In what appeared to be the biggest ground engagement since the war began last Thursday, a U.S. military official said up to 300 Iraqi forces were believed killed when they attacked the U.S. Seventh Calvary near the town of Najaf, about 100 miles south of Baghdad.

“Apparently ground forces tried to hit some of our guys with rocket propelled grenades,” the official said.

“They did damage a couple of pieces of our gear but we’ve had no reports of casualties on our side. But apparently there are some reports that we may have killed quite a few of them,” he said.

In a still developing story,

British chief of staff Major General Peter Wall said there were “early indications” that a revolt might be underway in Basra, Iraq’s second biggest city.

“We will be very keen to capitalize on it. We have a duty to reinforce that but we’ve got to make sure we do that in a sensible way and don’t do anything hotheaded that we might come to regret,” he told reporters at Central Command, battle headquarters for U.S.-led forces, in Qatar.

Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf denied reports of an uprising, which first came from British television reporters near the city.

Warplanes hammered elite Republican Guards defending Baghdad on March 25, 2003 as U.S. armored columns, slowed by blinding sandstorms, closed in for the decisive battle for the Iraqi capital. In southern Iraq, U.S. Marines finally punched past Iraqi resistance to cross the Euphrates river at Nassiriya. But they met a fresh ambush on the road north, despite an air strike that killed at least 30 Iraqis apparently heading into battle. Photo by Reuters Graphic

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.