WASHINGTON, July 22 (UPI) — With the slaying of Uday and Qusay Hussein — Saddam Hussein’s two sons and key pillars of the vanquished Baathist regime — U.S.-led coalition forces are seen as moving closer to ending the guerilla insurgency campaign that has made the reconstruction of Iraq perilous since the fall of Baghdad.
The two men considered the second- and third-highest value targets of U.S. efforts to sweep the country of remnants of the Baath regime were gunned down in a four-hour battle at a residence in Mosul, according to the U.S. Central Command, which said the sons — known as “Saddam’s cubs” — resisted efforts by U.S. forces to apprehend them.
“Four persons were killed during that operation and were removed from the building, and we have since confirmed that Uday and Qusay Hussein are among the dead,” Army Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez told reporters Tuesday in Baghdad.
Sanchez said the raid was spurred by a “walk-in,” an individual who gave the whereabouts of Saddam’s two sons Monday evening. He said that the U.S. military would look into providing the “walk-in” with a $15 million reward promised for such information.
Sanchez said he expected the killing of Uday and Qusay “will prove to the Iraqi people that at least these two members of the regime will not be coming back into power, which is what we stated over and over again. And we remain totally committed to the Hussein regime never returning to power and tormenting the Iraqi people.”
The U.S. administrator in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, was in Washington to brief Congress on the progress of reconstruction efforts in Iraq.
Bremer told reporters “this is a really great day for the Iraqi people,” and added: “The fact that Baghdad was lighted up with celebratory fire tonight shows you how important this is in meeting the real desires of the Iraqi people to be rid for once and for all of Saddam Hussein, his sons and his odious regime.”
Bremer also said that over the past three weeks there has been an increase in the number of informants coming forward to U.S. military, intelligence people and police.
Francis Brooke, an adviser to Ahmad Chalabi, a member of the new Iraqi Transitional Authority, told United Press International Tuesday, “We expect this will reduce the amount of guerilla activity as the old Baath leadership is decimated. You will see a slight slowdown now that we have these guys.”
Uday Hussein has been called one of the most brutal members of Saddam Hussein’s regime. In a special report from April, Newsweek Magazine revealed through interviews with Iraqis who experienced his wrath, that he kept a medieval torture device known as an iron maiden in his offices in Baghdad and a secret dungeon in the basement of the headquarters for the Iraqi Olympic Committee. Uday also ran the newspaper Babel and the television station Al-Shahab.
While Uday, the eldest son at 39, was initially groomed to replace his father as the leader of Iraq, he fell out of favor with Saddam in the mid-1990s. According to “Out of the Ashes,” the history of Iraq after the first Gulf War by Andrew and Patrick Coburn, Saddam publicly chastised Uday for his brutality in 1996, blaming the poor state of the country in part on his excesses. In 1996, Uday was nearly killed and believed paralyzed after unknown rebels gunned him down near a favorite Baghdad haunt.
Qusay was the head of his father’s personal security detail and intelligence services. He personally participated in putting down uprisings in the south in 1991 after the Gulf War and was known not to have the same kind of temper as his older brother. He was 37 and was believed to be gunned down with his teenage son. The fourth person killed was thought to have been a bodyguard.
Copyright 2003 by United Press International. All rights reserved.