Archive for Thursday, July 24, 2003

Two Americans killed; senior official captured

July 24, 2003

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— U.S. troops captured a senior Republican Guard official Wednesday, one day after killing Saddam Hussein's elder sons Odai and Qusai, but the guerrilla campaign against American forces persisted with two more soldiers killed.

Also Wednesday, a tape purportedly made by Saddam called on Iraqis to press their uprising against the U.S.-led occupation. The tape reportedly was made Sunday, two days before the killings of Odai and Qusai in a U.S. military raid in the northern city of Mosul.

The CIA was analyzing the audio message broadcast by Arab TV but has reached no conclusions about its authenticity, said a U.S. intelligence official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The head of the Special Republican Guard, Barzan Abd al-Ghafur Sulayman Majid al-Tikriti, was seized at an undisclosed location in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of coalition forces in Iraq, told reporters in Baghdad. He was 11th on the U.S. list of 55 most-wanted Iraqis.

On the streets of Baghdad, some residents said they wished American forces had taken Saddam's sons alive.

"We are happy for this, but we hoped that they would have been captured instead of killed so that they could have been tried by the Iraqi people," said Jassim Jabar, a 22-year-old tailor. "I hope Saddam will face the same fate soon."

Others didn't believe the Americans killed the brothers, who were second only to their father in power in the ousted regime.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said the United States soon would release photographs of the sons' bodies to prove they are dead, but he has not decided when. U.S. officials had debated whether to release the photos, likely to be gruesome because of the way they were killed.

Speaking in New York, Ahmad Chalabi, a delegate from Iraq's Governing Council who was at the United Nations, said it was "important psychologically" for the Iraqi people to be persuaded that Odai and Qusai are dead.

"These people had an aura about them that they were invincible, that they were powerful, that they were not answerable to any charge," he said. "The fact that they are dead ... provides some indication that the crimes they have committed are finally answered by their deaths."

American soldiers on patrol in Tarmiyah, 30 miles north of Baghdad, were elated by the news of the deaths of the sons.

"This is the best thing that can happen to the coalition," said Capt. Sean C. Nowlan, 31, of the 4th Infantry Division. "It deflates their campaign against us."

But attacks continued.

On Wednesday, a U.S. soldier was killed and six wounded in an attack on a convoy near Mosul, the military reported. And a convoy was attacked in Ramadi, 60 miles west of the capital, killing one soldier and wounding two.

The deaths brought to 155 the number of American servicemen killed in action since the war began March 20, surpassing by eight the death toll in the 1991 Gulf War.

In Washington, Rumsfeld approved a plan for rotating new soldiers into Iraq, a move that will relieve some who have been serving in the region for nearly a year.

According to a memo on the Army plan obtained by The Associated Press, the 3rd Infantry Division will come home in September, the 101st Airborne Division in February and March, the 4th Infantry Division next April and the 1st Armored Division next May.

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