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Iraq informant set for $30m reward

The whereabouts of Saddam Hussein remain uknown despite a $25 million reward.
The whereabouts of Saddam Hussein remain uknown despite a $25 million reward.

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MOSUL, Iraq (CNN) -- The Iraqi informant who led U.S. forces to Uday and Qusay Hussein is in protective custody and will receive a reward of $30 million, a high-ranking U.S. military officer told CNN Wednesday.

The officer -- who took part in Tuesday's operation that killed Saddam Hussein's two sons -- said U.S. forces received the informant's tip 24 hours before attacking the sons' hideout in the northern city of Mosul.

Both men were killed in a "fierce gun battle" that raged for six hours, U.S. officials said.

Uday, 39, and Qusay, 37, had a U.S. government bounty of $15 million each for information leading to their arrest or proof they had been killed.

When asked why the informant was in protective custody, the officer involved in the raid said: "People around here know who owned the house."

He would not confirm that the informant was the owner.

Mosul was known as center of strong support for Saddam and the Iraqi army during his rule.

Earlier, Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator of Iraq, told reporters that he was looking forward to handing someone a $30 million check.

The United States has offered a reward of $25 million for information leading to Saddam's arrest or concrete proof that he has been killed.

However, he remains at large and on Wednesday the Arabic language television channel Al Arabiya broadcast an audiotape, supposedly of Saddam's voice, urging Iraqis to step up their resistance to U.S. forces. (Tape urges resistance)

By offering huge rewards the U.S. government says it hopes to undermine the shadowy resistance blamed for continued attacks on its soldiers.

The fact that Saddam is apparently still at large, officials say, provides a motive for supporters of the former regime to attack U.S. forces and spread fear among ordinary Iraqis that Saddam may yet return to power.

The offer of huge rewards also has been applied to U.S. efforts to track down key al Qaeda terrorists.

Under the U.S. State Department's "Rewards for Justice" program a bounty of up to $25 million is on offer for information leading to the capture of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and several of his key lieutenants.

-- CNN Correspondent Harris Whitbeck contributed to this report


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