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Saddam's half-brother captured in Baghdad

US-led forces captured Saddam's half-brother and former head of Iraqi intelligence on Thursday.

india Updated: Apr 18, 2003 00:20 IST
Reuters
Reuters
PTI

US-led forces searching for members of Saddam Hussein's government captured the ousted Iraqi leader's half-brother and former head of Iraqi intelligence in Baghdad on Thursday.

“Early this morning, coalition special operations forces, supported by US Marines, captured Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti,” US Army Brig. Gen Vincent Brooks told a news conference at war headquarters in Qatar.

He said Barzan was captured alone based on a tip from Iraqis.

"Barzan is...an adviser to the former regime leader with extensive knowledge of the regime's inner working. There were no friendly or enemy casualties. The capture demonstrates the coalition's commitment to relentlessly pursuing the scattered members of a fractured regime," Brooks said.

Barzan was No. 52 and the five of clubs in a US pack of cards distributed to US troops featuring the 55 most-wanted Iraqis. Saddam and his two sons, Qusay and Uday, are at the top of the list.

US officials say they do not know if they are dead or alive after two airstrikes aimed at killing Saddam, but they said the success of the war does not depend on finding them.

"If we don't find every one of them, but we can account that the regime is not in place, then we have succeeded and we believe we have succeeded," Brooks told journalists.

Now that the military campaign in Iraq has ended, however, locating the country's former leadership stands as a major piece of unfinished business.

Houshyr Zebari, spokesman for the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), told a news conference in Salahaddin in northern Iraq on Thursday: “Senior members of the Iraqi leadership are still at large in western Mosul. Some have been spotted a few days ago.”

He said another Saddam half-brother, Watban Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti, was captured in the western part of Mosul.

He was No. 51 on the wanted list, though he was apparently estranged from Saddam. US authorities on Monday confirmed Watban was in custody, but did not say where he was apprehended.

"These efforts are continuing increasingly and we are working closely with US special forces to get those most wanted as soon as possible," Zebari said.

The only other person on the list known to be in custody is Saddam's top scientific adviser Amer Hammoudi al-Saadi — No. 55. He surrendered to US troops in Baghdad last weekend.

Saddam dead

At least one senior White House official believes Saddam Hussein is dead and was not afraid to say so publicly on Wednesday. In a web chat, President George Bush's chief of staff, Andrew Card, told Casey from Quincy, Massachusetts, who wanted to know the whereabouts of the Iraqi leader.

First Published: Apr 18, 2003 00:00 IST