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Lt. Gen. Sanchez Press Briefing on Uday and Qusay Hussein

Presenters: Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, Commander, Combined Joint Task Force Seven (CJTF-7)
July 22, 2003

Sanchez: Good evening. How are you all doing this evening?

Q: (Off mike.)

Sanchez: 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 our coalition forces associated with the 101st Airborne Division, Special Forces and Air Force assets conducted an operation against suspected regime members. An Iraqi source informed the 101st Airborne division on today that several suspects, including Qusay and Uday, numbers two and three on the U.S. Central Command's most-wanted list, were hiding in a residence near the northern edge of the city.

The six-hour operation began when the division's Second Brigade Combat Team approached the house and received small-arms fire. The division subsequently employed multiple weapons 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. Yes, sir?

Q: General, could you tell us whether the tests on the two bodies that 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.

Yes, sir?

Q: Sir, Harris Whitbeck from CNN. 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.

Yes, sir?

Q: (Off mike) -- resulting -- (off mike) -- Saddam himself?

Q: (Off mike.)

Sanchez: Yeah, I can't hear your question. Please get to a microphone.

Q: Andrew Marshall from Reuters. 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.

Yes, sir?

Q: General, Sayid Selau (sp) from Al-Arabia. How come you confirmed that it's Uday and Qusay, Saddam Hussein's sons, was there?

Sanchez: Because we're fairly -- we're certain that Uday and Qusay were killed today.

Yes, sir?

Q: Could you be more specific, though, sir? Jeffrey Kaufman, ABC News. Could you be more specific? How were you able to make a positive identification?

Sanchez: We have had -- we've used multiple sources to identify the individuals.

Q: Can you tell us, sir, in what manner they died? Was it --

Sanchez: They died in a fierce gun battle. 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.

Q: 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.

Yes, sir?

Q: Sir, two things. First, can you -- do you know who the two other people killed 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 the final confirmation on who they are.

Yes, sir?

Q: Do you think that -- (off mike) --

Sanchez: I can't hear you, sir. Please use the microphone.

Q: 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?

Q: 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 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?

Q: Are the bodies still in Mosul?

Sanchez: No, the bodies have been brought to Bayji.

Q: 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: Yeah, you can come back tomorrow when we conduct a detailed briefing of the operation. We will show you additional details.

Any other questions?

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

Sanchez: No, the bodies are in a condition where you could identify them.

Any other questions?

Q: 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're continuing to work on the other two bodies at this point; get the final confirmation on who they are.

Okay? This was easy.

Q: General?

Sanchez: Oh, one more.

Q: We hear shooting tonight in Baghdad, and we hear the Americans also shot some bullets. Was it a celebration or 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.

Okay, any other questions? If not, I'll see you tomorrow for the detailed briefing on the conduct of the operation.

Thank you very much.

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