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U.S.: Photos will prove Hussein's sons are dead

By Times Wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 24, 2003

WASHINGTON - The United States soon will release photographs of the bodies of Saddam Hussein's sons to prove they are dead, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill after briefing members of Congress, Rumsfeld said he had not decided precisely when the photos would be released.

"I said, soon," Rumsfeld said.

The United States said it holds irrefutable proof that Saddam Hussein's sons are dead, including dental records and visual confirmation from four of the deposed dictator's aides. But some skeptical Iraqis have called on U.S. authorities to prove that Uday and Qusay Hussein were killed in a shootout Tuesday with American forces in the northern city of Mosul.

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the commanding general in Iraq, admitted that the release of the photos, which he was carrying with him Wednesday and exhibited briefly, posed a dilemma. On the one hand, a public display could help lessen fear among Iraqis that the regime remains a threat; on the other, the military does not want to appear to be gloating.

Sanchez was carrying the photos of the sons in a manila folder, showing them briefly to a small group of reporters after a news conference in Baghdad.

The photos, printed on standard-sized letter paper, showed the battered, bloodied heads and upper torsos of Uday and Qusay Hussein. Uday, 39, had a purple 5-inch gash running up from his mouth along the side of his nose.

Forensic specialists made only a 90 percent match with Uday's teeth because some had been damaged by whatever had cause the wound, the general said. Wound marks on Uday's body matched those of X-rays taken after a 1996 assassination attempt, he said.

The two men had grown thick, bushy beards and Uday had recently shaved his head, which was covered with short fuzz when he died. Qusay, 37, normally carefully groomed, had let his hair grow. Blood clogged the nostrils and eyes of both men, who were recognizable as they lay on a floor, eyes closed.

Sanchez said four senior members of Hussein's government now in custody at Baghdad International Airport, where the bodies were taken, had each separately been shown the corpses and confirmed that they were Hussein's sons.

The four were Tariq Aziz, the former deputy prime minister and foreign minister; Abd Hamoud al-Tikriti, the former president's personal secretary; and two of the men's uncles, Watban and Barzan al-Tikriti.

Sanchez said that given the weight of the evidence, he did not feel further DNA testing was necessary.

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said Wednesday on PBS's NewsHour that the deaths would probably lessen, but not eliminate, attacks against American troops in Iraq. Proving Uday and Qusay Hussein are dead would help press the point that their father no longer has any influence in Iraq.

- Information from the Associated Press and New York Times was used in this report.

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