In Kifl, which lies North of Najaf and about 130 km south of Baghdad, the strategy may have slowed the US forces, but only at an extremely high cost. Some US soldiers estimate that at least 1,000 Iraqis were killed here since the fighting began at dusk on Wednesday, and everyone puts the number in the hundreds. Officers say just one US soldier has died.
The officers said the tank unit fired two 120-mm high-velocity depleted uranium rounds straight down the main road, creating a powerful vacuum that literally sucked guerrillas out from their hideaways into the street, where they were shot down by small-arms fire or run over by the tanks.
‘‘It was mad chaos like you cannot imagine,’’ said the tank unit’s commander, who identified himself as ‘Cobra 6’ as he did not want friends and neighbours back home to know what he had been through.