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U.S. Confirms Saddam's Sons Are Dead

Prague, 22 July 2003 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. Central Command in Baghdad said that Uday and Qusay Hussein (pictured right and left, respectively), the sons of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, were killed today in a fierce gunbattle in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, the commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq, said the brothers were among four Iraqis killed today during a U.S. raid in Mosul on a house where high-ranking members of Saddam Hussein's ousted regime were suspected of staying.

The raid sparked a shootout between members of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division and gunmen inside the compound, which suffered severe damage as a result of the battle. Four U.S. soldiers were injured in the operation.

The sons were below only Saddam in importance in the former regime, with Qusay being the no. 2 most-wanted on the U.S. list of 55 Iraqi government officials and Uday being no. 3. Qusay was 37 years old and Uday, the eldest of Saddam Hussein's five children, was 39.

L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator of Iraq, said their deaths was "good news" for the Iraqi people. Celebratory gunfire was heard on the streets of Baghdad after news of the deaths was released.

General Sanchez said a tip by an Iraqi informant yesterday evening gave the key information that led to the attack on the villa. Sanchez added that it was likely that the $15 million reward offered for information leading to the capture of one of the sons will "probably" be awarded.

Separately today, one U.S. soldier was reported killed and another wounded when their convoy was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade northwest of Baghdad.