Aboard the USS Kitty Hawk, scores of bombs were readied to fire and stored in racks in the ship's cavernous hanger bay.
Ordnance crews worked steadily through the day attaching global positioning system and laser guidance kits to 500-pound, 1,000-pound and 2000-pound bombs and moving the ordnance from the ship's 22 weapons magazine to holding bays.
Dozens of F-14 Tomcats and F/A-18 Hornet strike planes loaded with bombs roared off the Kitty Hawk's deck before nightfall Friday.
In Baghdad, tracers streaked into the sky over the west bank of the Tigris River, the site of two presidential palaces and many government buildings, including the headquarters of the Baath Party and the intelligence service.
Intermittent volleys of anti-aircraft fire rattled the city.
Saddam's reward offer
The official Iraqi news agency reported that Saddam Hussein had offered a reward of the equivalent of $14,000 to any Iraqi who kills an enemy soldier, and $28,000 to anyone who captures an enemy soldier alive.
A semblance of normalcy had returned to Baghdad earlier Friday after U.S.-led bombings Thursday morning and then again at night. There was traffic on the streets, many shops were open and people were out during the daylight hours.
Many shops and cafes remained open, providing the city with a surface appearance of everyday life -- except for the armed Baath Party activists and jeeps mounted with heavy machine guns cruising the streets.
However, there was no sign of army troops in the capital, suggesting that the activists were there not to defend against the Americans and British but to suppress any uprisings and maintain iron control.
Iraq's information minister acknowledged Friday that one of Saddam's homes was hit in an earlier U.S. bombardment, but said no one was hurt.
"They rocketed the residence of his household," Mohammed Sa'eed al-Sahhaf said at a news conference. "But thank God, they are all safe."
Al-Sahhaf lashed out at the "criminal George Bush and his gang."
"They are superpower of villains. They are superpower of Al Capone," he said. "We will not allow them to get out of this quagmire which we trapped them in. They will see their end there."
The Iraqi News Agency said 37 people were injured in Thursday night's raid at heart of Baghdad and in other locations in and around the city.
Standing next to Al-Sahhaf at the news conference was Interior Minister Mahmoud Diab al-Ahmed, carrying a Kalashnikov rifle and ammunition and wearing a military uniform and flak jacket with a knife in the pocket and a pistol on his hip.
"Some of you might may be wondering why do I have a Kalashnikov in my hand and wearing a flak jacket," he said. "Because we have all in Iraq pledged never to relinquish our weapons until the day of victory."
Sahhaf also denied any U.S.-led advance into Iraq and argued that TV images of Iraqis surrendering were fabricated.
"Those are not Iraqi soldiers at all," he said. "Where did they bring them from?"
Al-Sahhaf suggested that any captured U.S. and British soldiers may not be treated as prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions. Al-Sahhaf said Iraq was considering how to treat them.
"Those are mercenaries. Most probably they will be treated as mercenaries, hirelings and as war criminals. ... For sure, international law does not apply to those," he said.
A busload of journalists was taken to the main Al-Douri power plant, which was damaged in the 1991 Gulf War, where at least 12 human shields from Switzerland, Turkey, France and the United States are staying.
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