Published July 31, 2003
TIKRIT, Iraq – As two more U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq, two of Saddam Hussein's daughters took refuge in Jordan on Thursday, while the Bush administration approved a $30 million payment to the tipster who led U.S. troops to the former dictator's two sons.
Their husbands -- Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamel and Saddam Kamel, both cousins of Saddam -- were ordered killed by the former dictator in 1996.
• Map: Postwar Iraq
The daughters had been estranged from Saddam for some time but were believed to have reconciled with their father in recent years. The women had reportedly been living in poor circumstances in Iraq.
"They are Arab women who have run out of all options," Jordanian Information Minister Nabil al-Sharif told The Associated Press.
In Baghdad, U.S. military officials had no immediate comment. It was not clear whether the Americans had sought the daughters for questioning about their father.
Last month, a cousin of Saddam, Izzi-Din Mohammed Hassan al-Majid (search), had said he would try to help Raghad and Rana apply for asylum in Britain, where he lives. British Prime Minister Tony Blair that Britain would not consider asylum applications from members of Saddam's family who may have committed human rights abuses.
The whereabouts of Saddam's wife, Sajida Khairallah Telfah (search ), and his fifth and youngest child, daughter Hala, are unknown.
Secretary of State Colin Powell (search) announced Thursday that the tipster who led the military to Uday and Qusay's hideout in Mosul will get $30 million -- $15 million for each son. Saddam's sons were killed during a July 22 firefight with American troops.
Hours before, news came that two more U.S. soldiers have been killed and five others have been wounded in Iraq as insurgents continued their attacks against coalition forces.
One American soldier was killed and three were wounded Thursday when their M113 armored personnel carrier (search) hit a land mine on the road leading to Baghdad International Airport, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of ground forces in Iraq, told a news conference.
Just before midnight Wednesday, a soldier was killed and two others were injured when troops from the 4th Infantry Division came under small-arms fire 25 miles east of Baqouba at their base in northern Iraq.
The deaths brought to 51 the number of U.S. soldiers killed in action since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1. So far, 166 American forces have been killed in the Iraq war, 19 more than in the 1991 Gulf War.
No U.S. soldier had been reported killed in combat in Iraq for more than 48 hours.
The coalition also has nabbed someone referred to as "the bomb maker" in Iraq who is believed to be helping insurgents make bombs to be used against U.S. forces. He was No. 4 on the local list of Iraqis wanted by the U.S. military.
Military officers insist it's "just a matter of time" before they nabbed Saddam himself, one week after the deaths of Uday and Qusay
"He's going to start making mistakes, and we're going to catch him," said 4th Infantry Division (search ) spokeswoman, Maj. Josslyn Aberle, in Tikrit, Saddam's hometown.
"We estimate he's not staying more than four hours at the same place," she said. "But the man's been a master of hiding all his life."
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (search ) said they were receiving lots of tips, but he acknowledged that you can't "know if you're closer until you catch him."
President Bush said Wednesday, "I don't know how close we are to getting Saddam Hussein, closer than we were yesterday, I guess, all I can say is we're on the hunt."
Iraq's U.S.-picked interim government named its first president Wednesday -- a Shiite Muslim from a party banned by Saddam.
Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a Shiite Muslim and chief spokesman for the Islamic Dawa Party (search ), was picked to be the first of nine men who will serve one-month stints leading postwar Iraq. He will hold the presidency in August. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, said members could be replaced through general elections held within a year.
"It is certainly not unrealistic to think that we could have elections by midyear 2004," Bremer said Thursday while touring the partially refurbished Iraqi Foreign Ministry with members of the interim government.
The 25-member Governing Council decided to rotate the presidency alphabetically among the nine members chosen Tuesday. The groups will control spending and set in place the mechanism for writing a new constitution.
World Bank President James Wolfensohn said the council must first decide what constitutes a legally recognized government before it can lend money to Iraq.
"Clearly a constitution and an elected government would constitute a recognized government, but what do we do in the meantime?" Wolfensohn said. "It's a subject that needs interpretation."
With the intensification of the hunt for Saddam over the past week, U.S. military authorities believe he's on the move.
"It would not be a good idea for him to be stationary for very long," said Lt. Col. Ted Martin. "Every time a helicopter flies over, I bet they shake."
In far northern Iraq, meanwhile, U.S. officers found evidence that non-Iraqi fighters are among guerrillas attacking Americans. Tocket-propelled grenades wired to timers, a weapon used against coalition forces by insurgents in Afghanistan.
Usama bin Laden's Al Qaeda and remnants of the Taliban are believed responsible for the continued attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
In Tikrit, the American military continued questioning suspects and poring over documents and photo albums looking for clues to Saddam's whereabouts.
Soldiers interrogated one of Saddam's main bodyguards, his Tikrit security chief and a militia leader who is believed to be behind attacks on U.S. troops, Maj. Bryan Luke said.
"Every time we ask them a question, we get a different answer," Luke said. "They're not cooperating."
Fox News' Greg Palkot and Teri Schultz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.