Accounting for POWs and MIAs will be the first item of business at a battlefield rendezvous of top military officials, now planned for Sunday rather than Saturday.
Commanders of the Desert Storm coalition, led by Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, will meet with Iraqi generals at an undisclosed location near the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border to discuss the mechanics of the cease-fire declared Thursday along the gulf battlefront.The rendezvous had been set for Saturday but was postponed until at least Sunday at Iraqi request, Defense Department spokesman Pete Williams said. He gave no reason for the delay but said the Pentagon was not disappointed.
"We'll get together and we'll work it out," he said.
On Saturday, a high-ranking allied officer said in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, that based on military intelligence, the coalition believes Iraq tortured and killed two air crew held prisoners of war - probably two Britons.
Nine Americans, two Britons, an Italian and a Kuwaiti were known to be POWs in Iraq, and 45 Americans and 10 Britons were among 66 allied personnel missing in action.
The Pentagon updated the U.S. death toll Friday: 38 Americans were killed during the four-day ground war, 10 more than reported Thursday, for a total of 89 American dead since the air campaign was launched Jan. 17. It said 324 others were wounded.
Evidence of brutality
American officials estimate the Iraqis also hold as many as 40,000 Kuwaitis, 15,000 of them abducted in the final days of the Iraqi occupation of the emirate.Schwarzkopf will make their release another condition for permanently suspending the offensive against the battered Iraqi military, U.S. officials said.
The Iraqi officers in command of the reign of terror apparently fled Kuwait ahead of the advancing allied forces. But an American source said the Iraqis might be told at the desert meeting that they must round up those officers and turn them over to face justice.
New evidence emerged, meanwhile, of the occupation's brutality.
Doctors at Kuwait City hospitals said they were sure many more than 1,000 Kuwaitis were killed by the Iraqis, and possibly many thousands, Associated Press correspondent Mort Rosenblum reported from the Kuwaiti capital.
A hospital morgue worker told Rosenblum she alone saw more than 500 victims over the months - some shot in the mouth, some with throats cut, some apparently burned alive and shot. One physician produced 24 Polaroid photographs of mutilated bodies brought to him with horribly beaten faces and, in some cases, entrails protruding.
The United States on Friday dropped an explicit threat to resume war on Iraq if it fails to heed allied demands. Its draft Security Council resolution said allied forces would leave Iraq as soon as possible, diplomats said.
All five permanent members of the council - the United States, Britain, China, France and the Soviet Union - were in general agreement on the U.S. draft and the document could be presented to the full, 15-member council in closed consultations scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
Word from the battlefield
A command spokesman, Marine Brig. Gen. Richard Neal, told more of the completeness of the Iraqi rout, saying advancing coalition forces "found as many as 40 tanks in a line, vacated, empty, no bodies around" - their crews apparently having fled.
On the highway from Kuwait to Basra, American troops Friday worked to clear away a huge crush of Iraqi army trucks and commandeered civilian vehicles that were caught by allied warplanes as they tried to flee north.
Soldiers made slow progress Thursday, removing only one-quarter mile's worth of the 3-mile-long jam - a nightmarish scene of charred bodies, bombed-out tanks and gutted automobiles.
Scattered on the road were AK-47 rifles, cases of grenades and looted goods from Kuwait, televisions and stereos, jewelry and a leather briefcase filled with perfume.