Commander warns of 'spike' in attacks after sons' deaths
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq, provided details Wednesday about the U.S. military raid that killed two sons of toppled Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Following Tuesday's raid on a house in Mosul, a senior Pentagon official said the U.S. military is considering releasing photographs of the bodies -- identified as those of Qusay and Uday Hussein -- in an effort to convince skeptical Iraqis of their deaths.
Qusay, 37, and Uday, 39, were No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, on the U.S. military's list of 55 most-wanted Iraqi leaders. The No. 1 Iraqi -- Saddam -- remains at large.
Sanchez also announced Wednesday that Barzan abd al-Ghafur Sulayman Majid al-Tikriti, former commander of Iraq's Special Republican Guard, was in U.S. custody. He is no. 11 on the list.
CNN's Bill Hemmer interviewed Sanchez following the general's news conference Wednesday in Baghdad.
HEMMER: Why not show the photos?
SANCHEZ: Well Bill, as we all know, there's an issue with U.S. forces showing photographs. I'll tell you we're considering a range of options in how it is that we're going to prove to the Iraqi people that we did in fact kill Uday and Qusay. All options are being considered at this point.
HEMMER: How concerned are you that doubt about their deaths may linger among the Iraqi people?
SANCHEZ: I think we're going to prove conclusively that in fact we have the two sons.
HEMMER: Was it the owner of that house who turned them in?
SANCHEZ: That is information that I could not communicate to you at this point.
HEMMER: There are reports that came out [Tuesday] that the informant was a person who was attempting to aid the brothers at one time. Can you confirm that?
SANCHEZ: No, I have read those reports, and those are press reports, and that is speculation at this point.
HEMMER: You mentioned that four U.S. soldiers were wounded [Tuesday] trying to enter the home. What are their conditions, general?
SANCHEZ: Three of them have returned to duty, and the other one will be returned to duty. He's not in any danger at all.
HEMMER: There was another audiotape released earlier [Wednesday] -- said to be the voice of Saddam Hussein perhaps recorded three days ago. What does that say right now about perhaps the behind-the-scenes effort of the No. 1 ace in your deck of 55 trying to encourage more attacks against U.S. GIs?
SANCHEZ: I think the question of whether we're going to see continued fighting or not is an easy one to answer. We will continue to see fighting. There may in fact be a spike here in the coming days, given the desperate nature of the regime and its attempt to regain power. There will be no opportunity whatsoever for the regime to succeed. As I've stated over and over again, we will not fail in this mission.
HEMMER: Why didn't you take the sons alive?
SANCHEZ: These were decisions that are made in the heat of battle, and the young commanders on the ground -- and actually some senior commanders on the ground -- made the decision this was the right approach, and there is absolutely no fault in the decisions that have been made, especially when you're given a mission of killing or capturing these high-value targets.
HEMMER: I know you don't want to give us too much information about the informant, general. But can you tell us about what the incentive was on behalf of him or her to give you the information and to lead you to this home in Mosul?
SANCHEZ: No, not at this point. I couldn't divulge any information on the motivation for the informant coming in to talk to us.
HEMMER: Do you believe the money -- $30 million -- will be paid out and soon?
SANCHEZ: I know that that is being worked at this point in time, and I would expect that that probably will have a favorable response.
HEMMER: You also said that the area around this compound has been cordoned off. Can you give us a better reason as to why that's happening -- what threats you still may believe exist there?
SANCHEZ: We don't expect that there are any threats remaining. We've cleared that site completely. But we continue to exploit it, make sure that we've gathered whatever remaining intelligence may be in there, especially given the destructive nature of the attack. We've got to sift through there and make sure that we've collected everything possible for our follow-on operations.
HEMMER: What can you tell us about No. 11, the latest Iraqi leadership target to be taken by U.S.-led forces?
SANCHEZ: All I can tell you is that we've confirmed capture of No. 11 at this point in time, and more will follow here in the coming day or two.