The commander of U.S. forces in Iraq said on Sunday he believed that terror strikes against the American occupation would continue despite the capture of former leader Saddam Hussein (search).

U.S. officials have said they believed Saddam's capture would be crucial to pacifying the country, which has been in a state of guerrilla war in the eight months since President Bush declared major combat over on May 1.

But Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez (search), the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, cautioned against expecting the attacks, which many said found their direction and inspiration in Saddam's continued freedom — would end quickly.

"We do not expect at this point in time that we will have a complete elimination of those attacks," Sanchez said at a Baghdad news conference where Saddam's capture was announced by L. Paul Bremer (search), the top U.S. civilian leader in Iraq.

"I believe that those will continue for some time. But with the cooperation of all of the Iraqi people and our coalition, I believe that we are now much closer to a safe, secure environment here in the country," Sanchez said.