Coalition Special Ops Forces Capture Saddam's Half-Brother
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Apr. 17, 2003 Coalition special operations forces captured Saddam Hussein's half-brother during a raid in Baghdad last night, U.S. Central Command officials said during a briefing from Qatar today.
Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti was an adviser to his half- brother, said Army Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, deputy chief of operations for the command. Al-Tikriti was the "5" of clubs in the card deck issued to coalition forces showing the "most wanted" members of Saddam Hussein's regime. There were no coalition or enemy casualties, he said.
U.S. Marines aided the special operations forces in the capture. "The capture demonstrates the coalition's commitment to relentlessly pursuing the scattered remnants of a fractured regime," Brooks said. This action follows special operations forces capturing terrorist Abu Abbas April 14. Coalition special operators continue the hunt for other regime leaders.
Special operations forces have also worked to get Iraqi troops to capitulate in many cities and towns. "These efforts continue where remaining pockets of resistance are found," he said.
The Army's 4th Infantry Division, from Fort Hood, Texas, has arrived in the combat theater, Brooks said. Leading elements had their baptism to fire during a firefight near al Taji airfield north of Baghdad. The division killed and wounded a number of enemy forces, destroyed some T-72 tanks and captured more than 100 enemy fighters.
"The enemy force also had unmanned artillery pieces, armored personnel carriers and loaded multiple rocket launcher systems, a surfaceto-air-missile warehouse and some computers," he said. Coalition experts are examining the site and materials.
In southern Iraq, British forces came under attack from irregular forces wielding rocket-propelled grenades, Brooks said. British personnel are still finding evidence of death squads as they patrol the city, but the security situation in the city is generally improving, said he noted.
Restoring power to Iraqi cities and villages is crucial to providing humanitarian relief to the people. For example, water treatment facilities and water distribution systems depend on a dependable supply of electricity.
Restoring power in one area has a cascading effect through the country, Brooks said. He pointed out that coalition forces, working with Iraqi engineers, restored power to Kirkuk in the north.
Restoring power to that city also restores function to a natural gas complex there. Once that facility is running again, the gas gets pumped to the city of Mosul, where a gas-operated power plant will use it to run the hydroelectric power plant.
"Once power is restored there, the water distribution system in Mosul can also be restored," Brooks said.
After that, lines running to the town of Bayji can be activated, which will then push power into Baghdad and Tikrit. "So when we have successes like the Kirkuk power station being restored, it starts a sequence that rapidly improves conditions throughout (the country)," Brooks pointed out.
Coalition forces continue assessments throughout the country, Brooks said. Forces have examined restoring a number of hospitals to service. Teams of specialists are also combing the country looking for weapons of mass destruction.
Coalition forces are working with the Iraqi people to identify foreign fighters to be dealt them. "Iraq is more stable today than yesterday," he said. "Identified pockets of resistance are fewer than yesterday. And with the ever- increasing flow of humanitarian assistance, tomorrow shows great promise.