"SHOCK AND AWE" BEGINS

"A series of large explosions rocked Iraq's capital sending plumes of smoke and fire into the skies over Baghdad as the intense coalition air assault got underway," CNN says."Pentagon officials told CNN's Barbara Starr that Friday is 'A-Day,' the day a promised campaign of 'shock and awe' is to hit Iraq," the channel adds.The bombings began around 1pm EST, both in Baghdad and in two cities to the north, Kirkuk and Mosul."Every single building is in flames," according to a BBC correspondent in Baghdad.The U.S. will hit "several hundred targets... over the coming hours," according to Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Richard Myers.THERE'S MORE: The Navy says they've launched 320 Tomahawk cruise missiles during the latest assault.According to the Associated Press, "The radar-dodging Tomahawks were fired from the guided missile cruisers USS Cowpens, USS Bunker Hill, USS Shiloh, USS Mobile Bay, the destroyers USS John S. McCain, USS Higgins, USS Oscar Austin and USS Milius; and two submarines USS Colombia and USS Montpellier."The USS Kitty Hawk launched two radar-jamming EA-6B Prowlers to support bombers aiming for targets over Baghdad. About an hour later, the ship sent F/A-18 Hornet and F-14 Tomcat fighters loaded with 500-pound, 1,000-pound and 2,000-pound precision bombs to support ground troops in southern Iraq.

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