The US-led war in Iraq opened with an apparently unsuccessful attempt to wipe out the latter's leadership in a bombing and cruise-missile attack on a bunker outside Baghdad. Within hours, however, Saddam Hussein's forces responded with their own missile launches against US and British forces massed in neighboring Kuwait. No injuries were reported as the Monitor went to press. Early indications were that the Iraqi missiles hadn't been armed with chemical warheads. Explosions followed by flames visible inside southern Iraq also indicated that some oil wells had been blown, but that could not be confirmed immediately.
The start of the war triggered a new round of protests in major cities around the world, many of them large and some violent. In Cairo, police used water cannon to keep stone-throwers from the US Embassy. The protest in Athens was estimated at more than 100,000 people. Demonstrations of 40,000 or more took place in Berlin, Rome, and the Australian cities of Sydney and Melbourne. A protest in Paris was said to number at least 10,000 people.
By a vote of 332 to 202, members of parliament in Turkey gave their OK for US warplanes to use the nation's airspace for attacks on neighboring Iraq or for shuttling troops there. Not permitted, however, will be the use of Turkish bases for such attacks or even for refueling.
Within hours of Palestinian Prime Minister-designate Mahmoud Abbas accepting his new post, security police in the Gaza Strip attempted to break up a Hamas training session on how to fire homemade rockets at Israel. The confrontation resulted in the death of one militant and the arrests of others, and the seizure of a police commander as a bargaining chip. The incident failed to prevent the launch of another Qassam rocket at a Jewish settlement in Gaza, but it caused no damage.
The number of antigovernment dissidents arrested in Cuba rose to 46 and was expected to go higher, human-rights activists said. The dissidents were picked up on Day 2 of what was being called the harshest crackdown in years. Previous round- ups resulted in the dissidents being released without being charged, sometimes in a matter of hours. But the government said the new detainees would be "turned over to the courts of justice."