Archive for Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Rebels linked to al-Qaida killed in Iraq

Saddam Hussein talks about money in interrogation

December 30, 2003


— American soldiers killed three suspected members of an al-Qaida-linked Islamic militant group during a firefight in the northern city of Mosul, the U.S. military said Monday. Two U.S. soldiers were wounded.

The interrogation of Saddam Hussein yielded more information with the deposed leader acknowledging sending $40 billion abroad, a member of the Iraqi Governing Council said in published remarks. The Iraqi official said that Saddam had provided the names of people who know where the money is.

The operation against the suspected Ansar al-Islam militants was carried out Sunday by soldiers of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division who came under small-arms fire while searching homes. The house harboring the assailants caught fire during the shootout, and Iraqi firefighters extinguished the blaze.

After the fight, U.S. troops seized two rocket-propelled grenade launchers, eight grenades and two assault rifles, the military said in a statement. The injured soldiers were in stable condition.

Most Ansar al-Islam fighters were believed to have fled their stronghold in northern Iraq before U.S. forces invaded in March. U.S. and Kurdish forces destroyed the group's main base early in the war.

Tactics of the group, believed to have ties to Osama bin Laden's terror network, have included suicide bombs, car bombs, assassinations and raids on militiamen and politicians of the secular Kurdish government in the north.

In Monday's report about Saddam, the U.S.-appointed council estimated that the Iraqi dictator seized $40 billion while in power.

The council is now searching for that amount deposited in Switzerland, Japan, Germany and other countries, council member Iyad Allawi told the London-based Arab newspapers Al-Hayat and Asharq al-Awsat.

Allawi said Saddam, who has been questioned by U.S. interrogators since his capture this month, gave names of people who know where the money is deposited and know the location of arms and ammunition depots used by insurgents in attacks against the coalition forces and the Governing Council.

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