Menu
Home

Text of Lt. Gen. Sanchez's Briefing

Text of a briefing in Baghdad by Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez (search), commander of coalition troops in Iraq:

Sanchez: Good evening. How you all doing this evening? I'm going to give a short statement. I'll answer a couple of questions. And then tomorrow morning Eastern time I will come back and present a detailed briefing on the operation that was conducted today.

Today coalition forces associated with the 101st Airborne Division (search), Special Forces and Air Force assets conducted an operation against suspected regime members. An Iraqi source informed the 101st Airborne Division today that several suspects, including Qusay (search) and Uday (search), Nos. 2 and 3 on the U.S. Central Command's most-wanted list, were hiding in a residence near the northern edge of the city (Mosul).

The six-hour operation began when the division's 2nd Brigade combat team approached the house and received small-arms fire. The division subsequently employed multiple weapon systems to subdue the suspects who had barricaded themselves inside the house and continued to resist detention fiercely.

Four persons were killed during that operation and were removed from the building and we have since confirmed that Uday and Qusay Hussein are among the dead.

The site is currently being exploited. Four coalition soldiers were wounded in the operation and I pray for their speedy recovery.

The coalition is committed to working with the citizens of Iraq to maintain a safe and secure environment for all of its people and we will continue to strive for a better quality of life for all Iraqis in this country.

I will now take a couple of questions.

QUESTION: General, could you tell us whether DNA tests on the two bodies you said belong to Qusay and Uday are positive?

SANCHEZ: We are currently continuing to exploit the site and we continue to investigate the elements that were recovered from the scene.

QUESTION: If, in fact, you use DNA to confirm the identities, where would the original sample have come from?

SANCHEZ: I couldn't answer that question.

QUESTION: Did you get any information resulting from today's raid that might lead you to the whereabouts of Saddam himself?

SANCHEZ: We are still continuing to exploit the site and everything that we captured in that raid.

QUESTION: General, how can you confirm that it's Uday and Qusay?

SANCHEZ: Because we're fairly, we're certain that Uday and Qusay were killed today.

QUESTION: Could you be more specific, though? Could you be more specific? How were you able to make a positive identification?

SANCHEZ: We have had, we've used multiple, multiple sources to identify the individuals.

QUESTION: Can you tell us, sir, in what manner they died? Was it...

SANCHEZ: They died in a fierce gunbattle. They resisted the detention and the efforts of the coalition forces to go in there and apprehend them, and they were killed in the ensuing gunfight and the attacks that we conducted on the residence.

And tomorrow I'll give you additional details on how that transpired.

QUESTION: Sir, there were two $15 million rewards for information leading to these characters. Were those rewards, will those rewards be paid out?

SANCHEZ: We're pursuing that at this point in time. I would expect that it probably will happen.

QUESTION: Sir, two things. First, do you know who the two other people were? And second, can you just give a little more about what the circumstances behind the informant coming to you this morning?

SANCHEZ: It was a walk-in last night that came in and gave us the information that those two individuals were in that residence, and the other two that were killed in there. We're still working to get final confirmation on who they are.

SANCHEZ: Yes, sir?

QUESTION: Do you think that you are coming closer to Saddam Hussein? And do you have an idea where is Saddam Hussein?

SANCHEZ: Sir, we remain focused on finding, fixing, killing or capturing all members of the high-value target list.

Yes, sir?

QUESTION: Do you think that the killing of Uday and Qusay, as you put it, is going to have an impact on the guerrilla warfare that's being carried out against your forces?

SANCHEZ: I believe very firmly that this will, in fact, have an effect. This will prove to the Iraqi people that at least these two members of the regime will not be coming back into power, which is what we've stated over and over again. And we remain totally committed to the Hussein regime never returning to power and tormenting the Iraqi people.

Yes, sir?

QUESTION: Are the bodies still in Mosul?

SANCHEZ: No, the bodies have been brought to Bayji (ph).

QUESTION: Sir, I was on the street a little while ago speaking to people, Iraqis, about this, and they were extremely skeptical and said: Prove it. We have to see pictures. We have to see evidence. They seemed extremely distrustful of this kind of word. Is there something you will do to confirm, in their minds, that this has, in fact, transpired?

SANCHEZ: You can come back tomorrow when we conduct the detailed briefing of the operation, and we'll show you additional details.

Any other questions?

QUESTION: Sir, just on the identification. I mean, were the bodies in such a condition that it wasn't just apparent from looking at their faces who they were?

SANCHEZ: The bodies are in a condition where you could identify them.

SANCHEZ: Any other questions?

QUESTION: Sir, there were reports that there was a teenager among the four who were killed. Any information on who that might have been?

SANCHEZ: We are continuing to work on the other two bodies at this point to get the final confirmation on who they are.

OK, this was easy.

QUESTION: General, we heard shooting tonight in Baghdad and we — American also shot some bullets. Was it a celebration, or it's some kind of, you know, people who are fighting the Americans and their occupation to Iraq?

SANCHEZ: I couldn't answer that. I don't know, probably a combination. What we've been experiencing here on a daily basis is that we're having engagements. We're still fighting a war. That's likely to be going on out there right now.

And also, given that the Iraqi people have watched CNN, it's probably very appropriate that they would be celebrating about now.

OK, any other questions. If not, I'll see you tomorrow for the detailed briefing on the conduct of the operation. Thank you very much.