Skip to comments.Iraqi: Saddam Deputy May Have Been Killed
Posted on 12/02/2003 4:30:44 AM PST by prairiebreeze
KIRKUK, Iraq (AP) -- U.S. troops may have killed or arrested Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, Saddam Hussein's top former deputy who is suspected of leading the anti-U.S. insurgency, an Iraqi official said Tuesday. Officials of the U.S.-led coalition in Baghdad said they had no information on the report.
Al-Douri, No. 6 on the U.S. list of most-wanted Iraqis, may have been arrested or killed in a U.S. raid in Kirkuk in northern Iraq, a senior Kurdish official in Kirkuk said on condition of anonymity.
"I heard he might have been killed or captured," the official said, citing sources in his political party.
U.S. officials last week offered a $10 million reward for information leading to al-Douri's capture. Aside from Saddam, Al-Douri is the most senior official of the former regime who is still at large.
Last week, U.S. troops arrested a wife and a daughter of al-Douri in an apparent attempt to pressure him into surrendering.
In Baghdad, workers on Tuesday began dismantling four giant bronze busts of Saddam Hussein that have long been a Baghdad landmark.
The workers used a construction crane to take down the busts in the Republican Palace, in yet another move aimed at eradicating the former leader's influence. The U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority announced last month that it would dismantle the 13-feet-high busts. It was not clear how long the operation would last.
Meanwhile, a witness said insurgents ambushed American soldiers just south of Samarra, a city where troops and insurgents fought a pitched battle on Sunday. U.S. commanders claimed that up to 54 guerrillas were killed in the clash Sunday , but this has been disputed by residents and hospital officials who say less than 10 people - most of them civilians - died.
Tuesday's ambush occurred on the road between Baghdad and Samarra, 60 miles north of the capital, witnesses said. An Associated Press photographer said he saw American soldiers using a stretcher to carry a body covered in plastic. It was unclear who the victim was.
A military spokesman said he had no information about the reported clash.
In addition to attacking coalition forces, rebels in recent days have killed a number of nonmilitary personnel, including two Japanese diplomats, two South Korean electrical workers and a Colombian contractor.
Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Britain's chief representative in Iraq, warned that insurgents are now turning to softer targets and urged foreigners to increase security levels.
"People have to be very careful. The Spaniards and the Japanese who were killed this week were not following the strictest possible protection rules," Greenstock told British Broadcasting Corp. radio.
Greenstock said he was confident coalition troops would retain a grip on events and said the coalition backed the aggressive approach to tackling security problems being taken by Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top U.S. commander in Iraq.
During the past month, U.S. troops have pounded suspected guerrilla targets under a new "get-tough" campaign against the insurgency. Despite the crackdown, November has proven to be the deadliest for coalition troops since the war began.
The increasing death toll has raised concerns in some nations taking part in the U.S.-led coalition.
On Tuesday, Thailand's Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai said government leaders will discuss the possibility of withdrawing Thailand's contingent from Iraq if the security situation continues to deteriorate.
Thailand dispatched 422 soldiers in September in a non-combat capacity to help rebuild roads, buildings and other infrastructure destroyed during the war, and to provide medical services.
The fighting in Samarra on Sunday represented a greater level of coordination in the Iraqi insurgency, although U.S. forces said they had anticipated the attacks and blunted them with superior firepower.
U.S. Capt. Andy Deponai, whose tank was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade during the firefight, said on Monday that he was surprised by the scale of the attack on the convoys, which were carrying bundles of new Iraqi currency, and that 30 to 40 assailants lay in wait - armed with rocket-propelled grenades - near each of the two banks where the money was being delivered.
"Up to now you've seen a progression - initially it was hit-and-run, single RPG shots on patrols. Then they started doing volley fire, multiple RPG ambushes, and then from there, this is the first well-coordinated one," he said.
"It's hard to tell on the basis of one attack exactly what tactics may or may not be changing," Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in Brussels, Belgium.
Wazzat his body or was it not?
Hazzwe gotim or has we not?
People magazine was on hand to cover the event and wanted to interview the troops for reaction to Clinton's visit.
"But they were getting declined left and right," our source said. "People were actually telling the reporters, 'You don't want to print what I think about her and her visit.'"
Hang down your head, al-Douri,
hang down your head and cry.