Tuesday brought news of first the freedom of four Western journalists who had been missing for more than a week in Iraq, and then, the successful rescue by special operations forces of an American POW missing since March 23.
But Wednesday, a military spokesman in Qatar was forced to add a grim note to the joy over the rescue of Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch, 19, a POW since March 23.
U.S. officials are now confirming that 11 bodies were found in the same An Nasiriyah hospital where special ops troops were able to locate and rescue Lynch, who was among as many as 16 soldiers listed as missing after they were captured in An Nasiriyah.
Five others from her same unit are listed as POWs, after being shown as prisoners on Iraqi television.
Navy Capt. Frank Thorp, a U.S. Central Command spokesman in Qatar, says it is not yet known whether any of the bodies in the hospital raid Tuesday are Americans.
Thorp says the 11 were not killed during the rescue operation. A forensic team will examine the bodies.
Referring to the bodies found during the rescue operation, a U-S Central Command spokesman says "We have reason to believe some of them were Americans."
Lynch's unit, the 507th Maintenance Company, was ambushed in An Nasiriyah after making a wrong turn.
Sources quoted by the Washington Post say Lynch was split off from the other members of her unit following their capture, and no other POWs were found near the hospital during her rescue.
The newspaper also says it was CIA operatives who figured out where Lynch was being held, and Navy SEALs and Army Rangers who staged the actual rescue raid - at about midnight local time.
CBS News has learned that Lynch is now in the hospital in Kuwait, where she is undergoing surgery for unspecified injuries. She is to be transferred to a U.S. military hospital in Germany as soon as she is well enough to travel.
U.S. military officials were able to bring the news of Lynch's rescue to her family Tuesday night, where residents of her tiny hometown - Palestine, West Virginia - were overcome with joy and held an impromptu parade.
On the ground in Iraq - U.S. Marines are now less than 40 miles outside Baghdad, after crossing the Saddam Canal and a key bridge over the Tigris River, winning a battle for control of the span and with it, control of a major highway.
Coalition forces are now advancing on Baghdad from the north, south and the west, in what appears to be the early stages of the ground assault on Baghdad, where air strikes continue.
Among the Baghdad targets of allied warplanes were a presidential palace along the Tigris River, and the offices of the Iraqi Olympic Committee, which dissidents claim has been used as a torture center run by Odai, a son of Saddam Hussein.
Outside Karbala, about 50 miles from the Iraqi capital, U.S. Army units have been fighting soldiers from the Medina Division of Iraq's Republican Guard - which has been weakened by heavy air bombardment over the past few days.
CBS News Correspondent David Martin reports the Medina division is now rated at less than 40 percent combat effectiveness and a second division guarding the capital is even worse off, at less than 20 percent combat effectiveness.
The greatest danger for the Americans is still chemical attack. For the first time, U.S. troops are nearing the so-called red line the Iraqis have drawn on the map around Baghdad. Once they cross it, the Republican Guards are authorized to use chemical weapons.
The fighting near Karbala capped a day of aggressive American and British military action.
A Marine official said heavy bombing was carried out around Kut, southeast of Baghdad, adding that ground forces have secured an air base further to the south, at Qalat Sukkar, that could be used as a staging ground.
Further to the southwest, Marines claimed to have killed at least 80 Iraqi soldiers and taken dozens of prisoners in fighting near Diwaniyah. According to reports from the field, troops on a reconnaissance mission found fortified Iraqi positions along a line leading several miles to the city.
"They were shooting from buildings, from dugout positions, from holes, from everywhere," Cpl. Patrick Irish said of the Iraqis.
In Basra, warplanes dropped 500-pound and 1,000-pound laser-guided bombs on an Iraqi intelligence complex in an effort to dislodge die-hard defenders who have kept British forces at bay for days.
"What you're seeing today on the battlefield in Iraq is a continuation of prepping the battlefield for a major encounter with the Republican Guard," said Navy Capt. Frank Thorp.
In the port of Umm Qasr, which is firmly under British control, two would-be suicide bombers turned themselves in to coalition forces. "They didn't want to be suicide bombers any more," says British Col. Steve Cox. "We are accommodating them."
Lights in Umm Qasr came back on Tuesday for the first time in weeks, as the city began to adjust to its new situation. Some British forces there are now wearing berets in public, instead of helmets, in areas deemed safe.
In other developments:
The message came a day after another statement - also said to be from Saddam - was read on television by Iraq's Information Minister, calling for holy war against coalition forces. Speculation that Saddam is either sick or dead has been fueled by the fact that he did not personally take to the airwaves to deliver what are supposed to be his own words to the Iraqi people.