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Published on Jul 21, 2015
(25 Mar 2003) SHOTLIST 1. Mid shot Royal Marines loading howitzer during heavy sandstorm 2. Wide shot Royal Marines firing howitzer in reduced visibility because of sandstorm 3. Royal Marines around howitzer 4. Side shot howitzer firing 5. Marines carrying shell and loading howitzer 6. Various marines loading and firing shells in sandstorm STORYLINE British Royal Marines fired artillery at Iraqi troops on Tuesday in a bid to continue the push northwards, despite a strong sandstorm that slowed the pace and thwarted coalition air missions across Iraq. Marines from the artillery battery of the 5th battalion of Royal Marines fired at Iraqi troops in the southern Iraqi desert. The unit believed they were engaging members of Saddam Hussein's elite Republican guard, not regular army troops. Because of reduced visibility and howling winds, the unit could not call in air support, but they were able to deploy artillery and direct it by spotters in the field. In some areas of the country, the storm reduced visibility to a few feet. Combat missions from two aircraft carriers were called back because of bad weather - and at least a dozen planes returned without reaching Iraq. AccuWeather said Iraq often sees sandstorms in the spring, but Tuesday's conditions were exceptional for the region, bringing dust and sand from as far away as Egypt and Libya.