Military officials at U.S. Central
Command in Qatar displayed a deck of cards that has been handed out
to troops, each one bearing the picture of a member of the ruling
elite, to help them in their search for the Iraqi leaders who have
disappeared in the wake of U.S. forces seizing Baghdad on Wednesday.
The regime members on the cards "may be pursued, killed or
captured," Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks told reporters .
"There are jokers in this deck," he added.
Saddam himself is on the ace of spades. His son Qusai appears on
the ace of clubs, and the particularly brutal son Odai is the ace of
President Bush said the war would go on until the regime is
"The priority of this campaign is to rid Iraq and the Iraqi
people of the vestiges of Saddam Hussein's regime," Bush told
reporters at Bethesda Medical center in Maryland after visiting
injured U.S. soldiers there and at Walter Reed Hospital in
Washington. "I don't know the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein. I don't
know if he's dead or alive. I do know he's no longer in power."
Bush has stopped short of declaring victory and said today the
war will end when Gen. Tommy Franks, the commander in charge of
operations in Iraq, tells him coalition forces have achieved all the
objectives of the campaign, including removing and holding all the
vestiges of Saddam's regime accountable for crimes against their
When asked if the administration believes that senior Iraqi
political and military leaders may have escaped coalition forces and
are taking refuge in neighboring Syria, Bush said he hoped officials
there would not harbor the wanted regime leaders.
"We expect them [Syrian officials] to do everything they can to
prevent people who should be held to account from escaping in their
country," Bush said. "And if they [Iraqi leaders] are in their
country, we expect the Syrian authorities to turn them over to the
Last Town Standing
Since the regime's collapse, U.S.-led forces have taken two
cities, the oil-rich Kirkuk on Thursday and Mosul, the largest city
in northern Iraq, today. Mosul fell to Kurdish and U.S. troops,
Central Command said, when the 5th Corps of the Iraqi army in Mosul
surrendered to coalition forces and agreed to a cease-fire.
This left Tikrit, Saddam's birthplace, as the last major city
under the control of what was left of his regime. Iraqi forces loyal
to Saddam were heading south toward Tikrit amid reports that
thousands of Iraqi army regulars, some of them barefoot, were
fleeing south, officials said. However, U.S. military sources told
ABCNEWS there was little visible sign of military organization
U.S. military officials have indicated that coalition troops were
likely to launch an attack on the Tikrit region "very quickly"
before an organized Iraqi resistance could be put together, said
ABCNEWS' John McWethy. Air bombardments have already begun.
Coalition Troops to Combat
In the resulting power vacuum, residents of Mosul began
widespread looting as crowds plundered banks, city archives and
offices — a scene that had become common in recent days in several
Iraqi cities, including Baghdad .
• Click here for interactive map of Baghdad.
In the capital, Iraqis stripped bare the palaces, residences and
offices of senior Iraqi leaders as aid agencies warned that
hospitals in the city were unable to function in the resulting
chaos. Arab television showed several large buildings in Baghdad
Northern Iraqi cities have been falling to
coalition control as the focus of the war moves to Tikrit,
Saddam Hussein's birthplace. (Updated 5:30 p.m. ET on
April 10, ABCNEWS.com)
"While no one condones looting, on the other hand, one can
understand the pent-up feelings that may result from decades of
repression," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said at today's
Pentagon briefing. "We do feel an obligation to assist in providing
security, and coalition forces are doing that." Rumsfeld said
coalition forces would stop looting where they saw it but bristled
at reports that the troops were unprepared to control the looting
and that Baghdad and other parts of Iraq were in chaos.
"I picked up a newspaper today and I couldn't believe it. I read
eight headlines that talked about chaos, violence, unrest and it
just was Henny Penny … 'the sky is falling,' " Rumsfeld said. "I've
never seen anything like it. … Do I think those words are
Still Fighting and Fear of ‘Unconventional
Still, U.S. officials caution that there is still fighting going
on in and around Baghdad.
"Baghdad is not yet fully under our control," said Gen. Richard
Myers, head of the Joint Chief of Staffs. "There are parts of the
city where we're still fighting and killing people."
Coalition forces, officials say, still fear "unconventional
attacks" as they try to control and suppress the looting in the
newly freed cities. U.S. Marines today said they killed two children
at a checkpoint in the southern Iraqi city of Nassiriyah, according
to Reuters. A spokesman for the 15th U.S. Marine Expeditionary Unit
told Reuters the incident happened when the driver of the vehicle
the children were traveling in ignored warnings to stop.
An Italian news organization said there had been a case of a
lynching of Baath Party members in Baghdad, two days after Iraqis
rejoiced on the streets of the capital as they tore down emblems of
Saddam's power. The report followed Thursday's killing of a senior
Shiite leader by an angry mob in the southern holy city of Najaf.
ABCNEWS' Richard Engel and Dan Harris in Baghdad, Jim Sciutto
in northern Iraq and John McWethy at the Pentagon contributed to