Saddam's sons killed in raid on home in northern Iraq
BY SARMAD JALAL Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, July 22, 2003
Lt. Gen. Ricardor Sanchez, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, speaks during a news conference in Baghdad, Iraq Tuesday, July 22, 2003. Sanchez said Saddam Hussein's sons Odai and Qusai were killed earlier Tuesday in a fierce firefight with U.S. soldiers in the northern city of Mosul.
MOSUL, Iraq (AP) -- Saddam Hussein's sons Odai and Qusai were
killed in a six-hour firefight Tuesday when U.S. forces, acting
on a tip from an Iraqi informant, surrounded and then stormed a
palatial villa in this northern Iraqi town, a senior American
Four coalition soldiers were wounded and two other Iraqis
were killed in the raid, but Saddam was not among them. The
house belonged to one of Saddam's cousins, a key tribal leader
in the region.
"We are certain that Odai and Qusai were killed today," said
Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez at a news conference in Baghdad. "The
bodies were in such a condition where you could identify them."
The deaths of the sons could have a major impact on the
Iraqi resistance, which has been mounting about a dozen attacks
a day against U.S. occupation troops. The guerrillas are
thought to be former military officers and Baath Party leaders
loyal to Saddam and his family -- especially the sons, who
played primary roles in the military and feared security
Both Odai and Qusai ranked second only to their father in
the deposed regime, officials have said. They were Nos. 2 and 3
on the U.S. list of 55 top former Iraqi officials wanted by
Washington. The United States had offered a $25 million reward
for information leading to Saddam's capture and $15 million
each for his sons.
In Washington, L. Paul Bremer, Iraq's top civilian
administrator, said he did not want to comment on how the
deaths of Saddam's sons would affect security in Iraq.
However, Bremer said: "It certainly is good news for the
"This will contribute significantly to reducing attacks on
coalition soldiers," said Ahmad Chalabi, a delegate from the
Coalition Provisional Authority, speaking at the United
Asked whether the killing of the sons would reduce the
incessant attacks on American forces, Sanchez said he thought
the security situation now would improve.
"I believe very firmly this will have an effect. This will
prove to the Iraqi people that these two members of the Iraqi
regime will never come to power again," Sanchez said.
Hours after the raid in Mosul, gunfire erupted throughout
Baghdad, making travel very dangerous. The shooting was
believed to be celebratory as news of the killing of the sons
spread through the capital.
"It's probably very appropriate that they would be
celebrating about now," Sanchez said.
Fighting broke out after soldiers from the 101st Airborne
Division surrounded the stone, columned villa.
When troops approached the building, gunmen inside opened
fire with small arms. The "suspects barricaded themselves in
the house" and "resisted fiercely," Sanchez said.
"They died in a fierce gunbattle," Sanchez added.
He told reporters that soldiers from the 101st Airborne
Division were working on a tip from an Iraqi informant that the
sons were present in the house.
Asked if the $15 million rewards would be paid, Sanchez
said: "I would expect that it probably will happen."
According to witnesses in Mosul, a small force of American
soldiers went to the house about 9 a.m. and asked permission to
search it. The occupants refused, and the patrol withdrew until
about 10 a.m., when 100 more soldiers arrived in 25 vehicles.
The Americans opened fire but received fierce return fire
from inside the home, the witnesses said. Kiowa helicopters
arrived and fired rockets into the villa. The interior of the
house was destroyed and two adjacent homes were badly damaged.
Once the fighting died down, Iraqi police arrived to help
the Americans search the building.
"When we saw the people in the house shooting back, we knew
Odai and Qusai were there," said the 31-year-old Jamal.