Volume 96, Issue 100
Tuesday, April 8, 2003

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Iraqi leaders bombed, deaths unknown

(AP) – The United States struck a "leadership target" in Baghdad last night, military officials said.

The target was believed to be one or more of the top government or military leaders in Saddam Hussein's regime, the officials said, speaking on a condition of anonymity.

The strike was the result of "time sensitive" intelligence, meaning information which needed to be acted on quickly, the officials said.

The military officials said they did not know the identity of the target of the strike, or whether the target or targets had been killed.

Coalition strikes have aimed at top Iraqi leaders since the beginning of the war.

On Mar. 19, U.S. President George W. Bush authorized a strike on a suburban Baghdad compound where Saddam and his sons were believed to be staying. That strike, like Monday's attack, was based on time-sensitive intelligence.

Earlier yesterday, U.S. and British officials said they believed Saddam's top commander in southern Iraq had been killed in a U.S. air strike.

American warplanes bombed a home where Saddam's cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid, was believed to be staying. That attack, too, was based on a time-sensitive tip. Al-Majid was a former Iraqi defence chief whose enemies called him Chemical Ali for his role in 1988 chemical weapons attacks on Iraqi Kurds.

General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, showed a video clip of the attack at a Pentagon news conference yesterday.

"We believe that the reign of terror of Chemical Ali has come to an end. To Iraqis who have suffered at his hand, particularly in the last few weeks in that southern part of the country, he will never again terrorize you or your families," Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said.

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2002 THE GAZETTE