Two US soldiers killed as Kurdish leader says Saddam was seen in Kirkuk
Two American troops were killed late Wednesday in Iraq. In one incident, a US soldier was shot dead late Wednesday while on patrol in Baghdad's al-Mansour district, the U.S. command said. Another soldier was killed in a grenade attack in Samara, some 100 kilometers north of the capital.
Their deaths brought to 90 the number of American soldiers killed in attacks since US President George W. Bush declared an end to major combat May 1.
Meanwhile, Jalal Talabani, a leading member of Iraq's governing council, was quoted as saying on Wednesday that Saddam Hussein was reportedly seen in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk five days ago and is moving in increasingly smaller circles in order to evade capture.
Talabani, who also heads the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, one of two main groups controlling the Kurdish north of the country, told The Guardian newspaper that he had received unconfirmed reports that the ousted Iraqi leader had sheltered last weekend among a Sunni Arab community on the outskirts of Kirkuk.
He said: "Saddam has good relations with those Arabs whom he brought to Kirkuk to ethnically cleanse the city of Kurds and Turkomens."
Saddam had been moving between the Hawija area and the Kirkuk plain, sheltering among Sunni Arab tribespeople and Ba'ath loyalists who had gone to ground there after the collapse of the regime, Talabani added.
An officer with US forces stationed in Kirkuk told the British daily he was aware of the reported sighting but declined further speculation. "There have been many reports of Saddam around central Iraq. Some are plausible, others plainly not. We are conducting an ongoing operation for anyone, including the former leader, who presents a danger to stability in the country," he said. (Albawana.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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