— By Miral Fahmy
MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. soldiers killed four high-ranking
allies of Saddam Hussein on Tuesday during a fierce four-hour
battle at a villa in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the U.S.
Major Trey Cate of the 101st Airborne Division said 200 soldiers
were sent to the house after receiving a tip that important
members of Saddam's overthrown regime were there.
He declined to identify them, and would not comment on local
rumors that Saddam's sons Uday and Qusay were inside.
American troops blasted the house with machineguns, grenades and
anti-tank missiles after coming under fire from people inside,
Cate said. Helicopters were also used to secure the area. After
the battle, a small group of soldiers went into the house and
brought out four bodies.
Cate said five Iraqis were killed in the battle, including the
four "high-value individuals," and at least five wounded. He
said one U.S. soldier was shot in the chest but was in a stable
Earlier, a senior officer at the scene said the high-ranking
Iraqis had been captured rather than killed.
"Individuals of very high interest to the coalition forces were
hiding out in the building," Lieutenant Colonel William Bishop
The house -- a large villa -- sustained considerable damage.
U.S. forces have announced the capture of 34 of the 55 Iraqis on
a most-wanted list of members of Saddam's regime, but Saddam and
his sons have not been found.
The U.S. has offered a reward of $25 million for information
that allows them to capture or kill Saddam, and $15 million each
for Uday and Qusay.
U.S. officials say Saddam is probably still alive and hiding
somewhere in Iraq. Audio tapes said to have been made by the
deposed leader have been given to Arab television networks,
exhorting Iraqis to fight occupying U.S. and British troops.
Guerrilla attacks against U.S. forces have killed 39 American
soldiers since May 1, when President Bush declared major combat
over. On Sunday, two U.S. soldiers were killed in an ambush to
the west of Mosul.
Copyright 2003 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved. This
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or
Search the Web and ABCNEWS.com