Sydney Morning Herald
SAS close in on capital
March 31 2003
Members of Australia's SAS unit were on the front line with many fast-moving vehicles close to Baghdad, a US journalist said today.
Correspondent Nate Thayer said the Australians detained him and his colleagues after he was expelled from Baghdad before letting them continue.
Mr Thayer said the Australians were calm, in control and close to the Iraqi capital.
"They detained me at gunpoint and the others that were accompanying me, ordered us on the ground, determined who we were and debriefed us," Mr Thayer told Sky News from Jordan.
"They were very close to Baghdad."
Mr Thayer said he promised Australia's elite soldiers he would not reveal their exact location.
But he said driving out of Baghdad, the Australians were the first military personnel of any significance he encountered.
"They were very professional, they were fully equipped, they were very mobile ... they were in control of the major highway outside Baghdad city," Mr Thayer said.
"They had many vehicles, they were fast-moving vehicles, they were clearly at the very front line of reconnaissance.
"They were calm, there was no fear in any of their eyes, they were in control. Their morale was very good."
Mr Thayer said he and his colleagues were treated well by the Australians before being allowed to continue their journey.