Iraqi Television, Radio Off the Air in Basra

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

British forces have managed to take Iraqi television and radio off the air in Basra, Sky News reported Thursday.

Transmitters were destroyed on Wednesday night, Sky reported, which has isolated the city from communications with Baghdad.

U.S. Central Command said Thursday night's bombing of Baghdad did hit a telecommunications center, although it did not specify which one.

Several frequencies in Iraq's second city have now been taken over by coalition forces, who are reportedly broadcasting their own messages, according to Sky reports.

The military early Friday rolled out new weapons -- two 4,700-pound, satellite-guided "bunker busting" bombs were dropped from American B-2 bombers on a major communications tower on the east bank of the Tigris River in downtown Baghdad. The bombs were twice the size of the bunker busting bombs that were being used before.

The bombing attack, aimed at disrupting communication between Saddam Hussein and his military leaders, gutted a seven-story telephone exchange, leaving the street strewn with rubble.

Taking out Saddam's method of communication with Iraqis is essential in order to put a halt to the propaganda war currently being waged. Some messages Saddam has been putting out to his people in an effort to get them to fight against the coalition is that the United States wants to put an American president in power there.

Coalition forces are also making progress establishing their own communication with the Iraqi people.

During a Central Command briefing Friday, Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks said allied forces have increased broadcasts in Iraq to include television in all of southern Iraq, as well as in Baghdad and the surrounding areas. They also have radio broadcasts running regularly. British forces have begun operating an AM radio station out of Umm Qasr.

Coalition forces destroyed a column of about 20 Iraqi vehicles that tried to slip out of Basra Wednesday night and attack British troops, British Air Marshall Brian Burridge said Thursday.

The attempted attack followed fierce fighting in the southern Iraqi city, he said.

"We've come up against some stiff opposition," Burridge said.

He said loyalist Iraqi forces were threatening regular army troops that were trying to desert.

Burridge said British forces had also attacked 11 Iraqi mortar firing positions and some T-55 tanks during fighting around the city.

He said British commandos and U.S. Marines had mostly secured the al-Faw Peninsula near Umm Qasr in southern Iraq and were conducting "mopping up" operations against remaining Iraqi fighters there.

Three wellhead fires had been extinguished but six were still burning, he said.

Many of the wellheads had been rigged with explosives, and troops were examining them to make sure they were not booby-trapped.

Burridge said the column of vehicles that was destroyed around Basra by the British was manned by conscripts and regular army troops who were rounded up by Saddam loyalists and forced to drive toward the British positions.

"This isn't a formation that really knows its business," he said. "You are not dealing with forces that can maneuver."

He urged patience in efforts to secure Basra, saying there were still paramilitary forces in the city.

He said military units will handle security for now in Basra, but Iraqis will be encouraged to take over administration as soon as possible.

Burridge said he believed the Iraqi regime was losing control over some of its forces and that its ability to fight was diminished.

"There are signs that they are finding it exceedingly difficult ... to maintain control," he said.

Burridge also criticized Arab media outlets and Iraqi authorities for showing images of captured British forces.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.