Heavy Fighting in Umm Qasr Over; Air Strikes May Follow

Heavy firefighting that broke out in Umm Qasr and lasted through the morning came to a close, but military officials told Sky News that air strikes on the area were probably imminent.

The skirmish came a day after U.S. military officials said the strategic port town had been secured by coalition forces.

Tank reinforcement was sent to aid the U.S. troops in the battle. Footage from Fox News' sister network, Sky News, showed U.S. Marine tanks and ground troops exchanging heavy gunfire with up to 120 Iraqi combatants reportedly holed up in a building.

The Pentagon and the British defense staff had said Friday that thousands of coalition soldiers captured and secured the town.

"Umm Qasr has been overwhelmed by the U.S. Marines and now is in coalition hands," Adm. Michael Boyce, chief of the British defense staff, said.

Boyce said that the "port is a vital objective. ... It's going to become one of our main ways of getting humanitarian aid, hopefully within days ... into Iraq."

Located along the Kuwait border, Umm Qasr is seen as being useful for moving military supplies into Iraq and control of the city will likely speed the clearing of Iraqi resistance in the south. Parts of the city, located 290 miles southeast of Baghdad, was given to Kuwait under agreements the United Nations brokered after the 1991 Gulf War.

U.S. Marines had taken several hundred prisoners, who a U.S. military official said were draftees in very poor condition rather than "top-notch Republican Guard types."

"A lot of them looked hungry," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "They haven't been fed in a while."

He said they fought with small arms, pistols, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

Boyce said British forces in the area were dealing with hundreds of Iraqi prisoners, but added he did not know how many had surrendered and how many had been taken prisoner.

One Marine from the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force died Friday during fighting near Umm Qasr.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.