Thursday, July 03, 2003
U.S. Offers $25M for Saddam's Capture
By JIM KRANE
.c The Associated Press
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - U.S. administrators announced a $25 million reward Thursday for information leading to the capture of Saddam Hussein or confirmation of his death - an effort to resolve the fate of the ousted Iraqi leader and help end the violence blamed on his supporters.
Attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq persisted Thursday, with nine Americans wounded in an explosion and two ambushes in Baghdad. U.S. soldiers killed two Iraqis and wounded several others, including a 6-year-old boy, in the violence. Another Iraqi was killed in an explosion during an anti-U.S. demonstration outside the capital.
The reward for Saddam matches the $25 million that Washington is offering its other top fugitive: Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader missing since U.S. forces helped dislodge the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
On top of the money for Saddam, the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority also said it would pay $15 million for information on either of Saddam's two sons, Odai and Qusai.
U.S. officials have said the continuing mystery over Saddam's fate is encouraging resistance against the U.S.-led occupation, as the daily ambushes and other attacks against Americans increase. At least 26 U.S. troops have been killed in hostile fire since major combat was officially declared over on May 1.
``We believe it is important to do everything we can to determine his whereabouts, whether he is alive or dead. in order to assist in stabilizing the situation and letting the people of Baghdad be absolutely sure that he's not coming back,'' Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters in Washington.
Saddam was last reportedly seen alive in the war's waning days in the Azamiyah neighborhood of northeastern Baghdad. At least two U.S. airstrikes targeted him during the war but it is not known if any were successful.
President Bush vowed Wednesday that anti-American attacks would not keep the United States from fulfilling its mission in Iraq.
On Thursday, a two-Humvee convoy hit an explosive in the town of Ramadi, 60 miles west of Baghdad, injuring six U.S. soldiers, said Sgt. Patrick Compton, a military spokesman.
In Baghdad, an attacker fired a grenade at a U.S. Army convoywounding two soldiers. Troops returned fire, killing an Iraqi bystander and injuring others, witnesses said.
As the American convoy moved along Baghdad's Haifa Street, a man fired a rocket-propelled grenade while standing in a car's sunroof. The grenade exploded beneath an Army Humvee, said Saddam Juwad, 22, a bystander. Most of the soldiers jumped from the Humvee before the explosion, Juwad said. One soldier who appeared to be injured was evacuated, Juwad and other witnesses said.
Another limping U.S. soldier sobbed and shook as a comrade helped him into a car.
As the attackers sped away, U.S. soldiers began firing wildly, Juwad and other witnesses said, killing the driver of another car. As a Humvee sat burning in the street an hour after the attack, witnesses pointed to a pool of blood on the street where the victim had fallen.
``We heard an explosion. I threw myself to the ground and my brother was shot,'' said Fuad Hassan Alwan. ``The Americans shot at us. My brother has two bullet wounds and he is now in the hospital.''
In a separate ambush Thursday, a sniper fired on a patrol in the west Baghdad neighborhood of Kadamiyah, wounding a soldier from the Army's 1st Armored Division, Compton said. Soldiers fired back, killing the attacker and wounding a six-year-old boy who was with the man, he said.
The soldier and the boy were in stable condition in a military hospital, Compton said.
In Baqubah, northwest of Baghdad, witnesses said a plastic bag filled with explosives blew up in the middle of a crowd of a few hundred Iraqi demonstrators, who were protesting the U.S. Army's detention of Ali Abdul Kareem al-Madani, the city's top Shiite cleric. Witnesses said one man was killed and five wounded.
But Capt. Josh Felker of the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry division said the explosion occurred when a grenade blew up in a man's hands, injuring three bystanders. Felker said the man may have been preparing to toss the grenade over a wall surrounding a local government compound that also houses a U.S. military office.
After the blast, protesters screamed and ran in different directions. U.S. soldiers patrolling from atop a nearby building fired into the air.
Kahtan Adnan, an aide to al-Madani, said U.S. troops raided the cleric's home in Baqubah, arresting him, his son and eight others at the home.
Also Thursday, a soldier from the 1st Armored Division died in a non-combat incident, the military said. The soldier's name was withheld until his family is notified.