The top U.S. military commander in Iraq says his troops yesterday killed Saddam Hussein’s two sons, Uday and Qusay. They were the most wanted men in Iraq besides their father.
The deaths occurred in Mosul after an intense gun battle Tuesday. 37-year-old Qusay was once seen as Saddam heir apparent. He headed the Special Republican Guard and the nation’s other elite security services. 39-year-old Uday headed up the Fedayeen miltia.
Also killed in the raid was Qusay’s 14-year-old son and a bodyguard. Four U.S. soldiers were injured in the attack.
The New York Times reports that U.S. military leaders believe the killings may lead to an immediate wave of retribution attacks. In the long run, officials hope the deaths will demoralize surviving Baath Party members and other opponents of the U.S. occupation.
Some in Baghdad said Uday and Qusay were more feared than even their father. Celebrations in Baghdad last night went awry when a unit of the Florida National Guard mistook the celebratory gunfire as an attack. USA Today reports the U.S. troops shot a man twice man in the chest and a young girl who may have been only six was shot in the head.
Meanwhile also in Mosul a U.S. soldier was killed and six others were wounded in a bomb attack today. Another U.S. soldier was killed when a military convoy was attacked in Ramadi, 60 miles west of Baghdad. Two more soldiers were wounded. A total of 235 U.S. soldiers have now died since the Iraq invasion began.
Meanwhile more than 400,000 Americans have sent letters to Congress calling for an independent investigation into whether Bush lied in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq.
The letter writing campaign is being organized by the group moveon.org.
California Representative Henry Waxman has introduced a bill that calls for the creation of a nonpartisan commission to probe the White House’s misuse of intelligence. 63 lawmakers have sponsored the bill so far.
A federal judge yesterday threw out the two main charges against civil rights attorney Lynne Stewart who was charged by Attorney General John Ashcroft for abetting a terrorist organization while she represented one of her clients. We’ll have more on this later in the show.
U.S. troops and Iraqi police have raided and closed down the offices of a new newspaper in Baghdad. The editor of the paper Al-Mustaqila was also arrested. U.S. forces felt the paper was inciting violence.
The Washington Post reports the U.S. has banned all Iraqi media from publishing or airing material that could be viewed as inciting political, religious or ethnic violence or promoting attacks on U.S. forces here.
Already shut down have been a Baghdad radio station and a Shiite Muslim newspaper in Najaf.
The international press group Reporters Without Borders have criticized the press rules.
The Bush administration yesterday threatened to veto any bill that would seek to overturn the recent changes by the Federal Communications Commission to the nation’s media ownership laws. There has been growing bipartisan support in Congress to roll back the FCC’s new rules that are expected to result in greater media consolidation. We’ll have more on this later in the show.
Following protests from British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Bush administration yesterday announced it would not seek the death penalty for the two Britons being held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba who are scheduled to be tried by a secret U.S. military tribunal.
In Liberia, President Charles Taylor has offered to leave the country within 10 days as fighting eased in the capital city of Monrovia.
There were also reports that opposition groups had ordered a ceasefire following some of the country’s most intense fighting.
More than 600 Liberians have died there in recent days.
The New York Times reports that Taylor announced he would leave during a phone call arranged by an American evangelist, the Rev. K. A. Paul, whom Taylor described as “my religious leader”
The Iranian-Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi has been buried in Iran. She died on July 10 after being beaten by Iranian police. She suffered a fractured skull that caused a brain haemorrhage.
Her Iranian and Canadian family had called on the Iranian government to return her body to Canada, but Iran ignored the requests.