Originally Published: April 1, 2003 6:10 p.m.
American soldiers on the road to Baghdad fought bloody street-to-street battles with militants loyal to Saddam Hussein while tense troops in southern Iraq shot and killed seven women and children when the driver of a van failed to stop at a checkpoint.
The civilian deaths, after days of ambush attacks, may damage coalition efforts to win over the Iraqi people.
U.S.-led forces launched missiles today toward Baghdad and the holy Shiite Muslim City of Karbala to the southwest, and circling warplanes bombed targets in the area. Buildings in the capital shuddered in some of the strongest blasts since the air war began March 20. Smoke billowed from the capital's Old Palace presidential compound.