April 11 —
U.S.-led forces expanded their control over Iraq on Friday as
Mosul, largest city in the north, fell without a fight. Saddam
Hussein and his sons are "either dead or they're running like hell,"
said Gen. Tommy Franks, top commander of a war nearly won.
Looting swiftly erupted in Mosul hospital ambulances were taken
at gunpoint and lawlessness continued to plague Baghdad three days
after the collapse of the regime. Increasingly, U.S. troops in the
capital turned their efforts to restoring order, although pockets of
resistance and suicide bombers remained constant threats.
Mosul fell when an entire Iraqi Army Corps evaporated, a force of
roughly 30,000 on paper but far less in practice. That left Tikrit,
Saddam's hometown, as the only major population center not under
control of American-led forces.
Whatever combat lay ahead there or elsewhere, Defense Secretary
Donald H. Rumsfeld said it was increasingly clear that most Iraqis
"welcome American and British forces and see them not as invaders or
occupiers but as liberators."
Saddam's whereabouts remained unknown. Nor have American or
British forces been able to find his two sons or other key leaders
of the regime that ruled for almost a quarter century.
The U.S. Central Command issued a deck of 55 cards, each one
bearing the picture of a member of the ruling elite so the troops
could better know who they were searching for. "There are jokers in
this deck," Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks said, and Saddam was the ace
Despite a string of unchecked battlefield gains, and an
announcement that some British naval and air forces were being sent
home, the White House and military commanders said the war wasn't
"There's still plenty of fighting to be done," said Lt. Gen.
William S. Wallace. In Baghdad, he said, the problem lies with the
"knuckleheads ... operating and fighting on the last orders they
were given. They either don't know what is going on or are feeling
obligated to keep fighting on."
U.S. warplanes fired six satellite-guided bombs at an
intelligence building in Ramadi, 60 miles west of Baghdad, in a
predawn attack. Officials said they believed Brazan Ibrahim
al-Tikriti, Saddam's half brother and close adviser, was inside.
To the west, U.S. special operations forces maintained roadblocks
along border crossings to Syria, under orders to prevent regime
members from fleeing Iraq.
In the capital, where four Marines were wounded in a suicide
attack on Thursday, one Marine opened fire on a car that failed to
stop at a checkpoint. AP Broadcast News reporter Ross Simpson said
three adults were killed, including the parents of a 5-year-old girl
who was wounded.
There was no accurate count of the number of troops in the Iraqi
Army's 5th Corps in Mosul, the third largest city with a large Arab
population as well as Kurds and ethnic Turks.
Lawlessness quickly broke out as the army vanished, and U.S.
special forces and hundreds of Kurdish fighters entered a city in
anarchy. "Why are you late?" some residents shouted as the convoy
rolled into town.
Residents plundered the central bank, making off with wads of
Iraqi dinars and throwing bills into the air. The government
printing office was set ablaze, as were several Baath party
Mosul University's library, repository of rare manuscripts, also
was ransacked despite appeals broadcast from mosque minarets
pleading for an end to the anarchy.
"There is absolutely no security. The medical staff is scared for
their safety. The city has fallen into anarchy," said Dr. Darfar
Ibrahim Hasan, a physician at Saddam General Hospital.
Mosul was the second northern city to fall in as many days. U.S.
troops and Kurdish fighters entered Kirkuk, gateway to the northern
oil fields on Thursday.
One day later, thousands of young Iraqi soldiers streamed south,
making their way home after abandoning their military positions.
Some faced a walk of seven days, they said, traveling barefoot over
a highway baked by the sun.
With lawlessness plaguing Baghdad, some residents blockaded
streets and beat up looters. Top commanders of the 1st Marine
Division held the first of what is expected to be a series of daily
meetings with representatives of humanitarian organizations and
local officials. The session was part of an effort to restore the
city's utilities, services and infrastructure, damaged by war and
the subsequent lawlessness.
"We know they need water. Obviously they need power. They need
police," said Col. Steve Hummer, commanding officer of the Marine
division. "But we are not a police force," he added, a declaration
seconded by Brooks at the U.S. Central Command.
Franks, the four-star general in charge of the military campaign,
spoke pungently on a visit to Afghanistan, where U.S. troops have
been stationed since the military routed the Taliban government last
year. Asked about the fate of Saddam and his sons, he replied,
"They're either dead or they're running like hell. That is the case
with the leadership of the regime inside Iraq."
In one Baghdad landmark, the Al-Rashid Hotel, soldiers swapped
insult for insult. Wielding hammers and chisels, they dug up a tile
mosaic of former President George Bush that had been used for years
as a state-sponsored insult. Installed after the first Gulf War,
during which Bush was commander in chief, it allowed visitors to
walk over his face, a particularly insulting act in the Arab
In place of the mosaic, the troops left a portrait of Saddam.
|A Kurdish soldiers orders
looters to offload the goods they took in Mosul, Iraq, Friday
April 11, 2003. (AP Photo/Kamran
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