16:30 GMT: If my time-of-flight guestimate is correct, the B-52s which took off earlier from RAF Fairford in Britain will be over Iraq in the next hour.
Stand by for the promised ‘shock and awe’.
More information from the just finished Ministry of Defence briefing suggests the fighting in Umm Qasr was considerably harder that expected as the last section of the town containing some Iraqi die hards has only recently fallen.
Reports are also coming in that suggest forward elements of 7 (UK) Armoured Brigade and US mechanized forces have reached the outskirts of the very important city of Basra, scene of bitter fighting in the Iran-Iraq War and viewed by many Iraqis as their ‘Verdun’. It may prove to be very psychologically important if Basra can be taken quickly by the Allies, but I expect they will first encircle and isolate the city from the north rather than try a risky coup de main today.
Update: 17:20 GMT: …or then again, maybe they are indeed going for a daring coup-de-main against Basra! Reports on SkyNews just in are saying unconfirmed reports indicate the allies (unspecified which units) have already seized part of downtown Basra! Blimey!