- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 23, 2003

From combined dispatches

BAGHDAD — U.S. forces captured a senior Republican Guard official yesterday as attacks claimed the lives of two more American soldiers a day after two sons of Saddam Hussein were killed in a raid.

Also yesterday, 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 his sons, Uday and Qusai.

The CIA was analyzing the audio message broadcast by Arab TV Al Arabiya but reached no conclusions about its authenticity, a U.S. intelligence official said.

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

Gen. Sanchez, commander of coalition forces in Iraq, said the deaths of Saddam’s sons are “definitely going to be a turning point for the resistance and the subversive elements that we are encountering.” He warned in an interview with CNN, however, there may be “a spike” in attacks on U.S. forces.

President Bush said Iraqis can gain comfort from knowing that “the careers of two of the regime’s chief henchmen came to an end.”

“Saddam Hussein’s sons were responsible for torture, maiming and murder of countless Iraqis,” Mr. Bush said. “Now more than ever, Iraqis can know that the former regime is gone and will never come back.”

On the streets of Baghdad, some residents said they wished American forces had taken Saddam’s sons alive. Of the 55 most-wanted Iraqis, 37 have been captured or killed, including Uday and Qusai. The sons were two and three on the list.

“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.”

Gen. Sanchez said the coalition would provide proof “in due time” to the Iraqi people that Uday and Qusai were killed in the raid on a home in the northern city of Mosul.

Two other Iraqis, including a teenager, died in the raid. The boy was thought to have been Qusai’s 14-year-old son, Mustafa. The other man was believed to have been a bodyguard, U.S. officials said. Gen. Sanchez said experts have yet to identify the bodies.

Armed with assault rifles, the Iraqis wounded four soldiers trying to detain them and held out for hours against a devastating array of U.S. weaponry. Gen. Sanchez said 200 soldiers pounded the house using grenades, rocket-firing Kiowa attack helicopters, heavy machine guns and antitank missiles.

Gen. Sanchez said 10 antitank missiles were fired at the villa. The three adults inside were probably killed by the missile strikes, leaving only the teenager, who was killed making a last stand when he fired at troops who burst in.

Gen. Sanchez said Uday, 39, and Qusai, 37, Saddam’s “crown prince,” were tracked down with information from a walk-in informant who will probably get the two $15 million rewards offered for information on their whereabouts.

Mosul residents said the owner of the villa where they were hiding may have betrayed them to claim the cash. He was identified as Sheik Nawaf al-Zaydan Muhhamad, a cousin of Saddam.

Meanwhile, 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 Persian Gulf war.

In Washington, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld approved a plan for rotating new soldiers into Iraq, a move that will relieve some who have been serving there 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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