Residents of Kirkuk jammed the streets of their city to celebrate its liberation from Iraqi forces, in scenes identical to those Wednesday in Baghdad. The oil-industry center fell to Kurdish guerrilla fighters, prompting the government of neighboring Turkey to send military observers whose mission would be to see that the Kurds did not intend to stay in the city. Meanwhile, the first US armored units were advancing on Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city. In Baghdad, looters ransacked the homes of Saddam Hussein's top aides as well as UN, French, and German diplomatic missions.
A senior Muslim cleric was beaten to death in the central Iraq city of Najaf, apparently as local Shiites sought to settle a score over his connections to Saddam Hussein's regime. Details were not immediately clear, but another cleric also was reported dead despite his attempts to mediate a dispute over control of a mosque that is one of the sect's holiest shrines.
A refusal by the Irish Republican Army to accept concessions in the 1998 peace accord for Northern Ireland caused postponement of a key meeting on implementing its terms. It was not clear when the British and Republic of Ireland governments would reschedule it. Details were to have been announced on trying to salvage portions of the accord, such as the IRA's surrender of weapons in front of TV cameras and the right of Sinn Fein, its political ally, to hold office being tied to IRA good behavior. In return, Britain was to offer new cuts in its troop presence in the province.
The leader of Islamic Jihad's military wing was believed killed when an Israeli missile hit his car in Gaza City - the second such attack there in three days. Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said he hoped the war in Iraq would show Palestinians that they must install new leadership and end the current intifada. But a senior Hamas political leader scoffed at Mofaz's remarks, vowing: "Resistance will escalate and become more violent." Against that backdrop, two Israeli soldiers were shot to death by an intruder at their base in the Jordan valley.
Communist North Korea was reacting angrily to a proposed resolution in the UN's Human Rights Commission accusing it of torturing and killing dissidents. The measure was to be offered by the US and European Union. Meanwhile, although the UN Security Council agreed only to express concern at North Korea's withdrawal from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the Pyongyang government said the war in Iraq proved that it needed a strong "physical deterrent force" to protect its security from the US.