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CIA Tip Led to Attacks on Baghdad Neighborhood

Posted April. 08, 2003 22:03,   


American forces targeted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein on April 8, for the second time after the blasts on March 20 at the beginning of the war. They have resumed ‘decapitation maneuvers’ to end the war with intensive bombing.

U.S. forces carried out attacks on Mansour, one of Baghdad’s exclusive residential neighborhoods, on Monday afternoon in an attempt to kill Saddam Hussein and his son after the CIA passed the tip on to military planners that the Iraqi leaders were meeting in a house there.

It is uncertain whether the Iraqi dictator and his sons are dead or not. It will be known by April 10. However, MSNBC, an American broadcasting company, quoted a senior military official as saying, “Saddam Hussein and his sons are very likely dead.”

“We did receive credible intelligence of a senior leadership meeting of the Iraqi regime,” a United States official in Washington said. “The Iraqi official told the CIA that President Hussein and other Iraqi leaders are to assemble in a house in the Mansour area on April 7.”

The U.S. official said, “They were discussing ways to escape Baghdad and told us that President Hussein went there, to be sure, but didn’t see him come out.”

It took 45 minutes for American forces to attack Baghdad after the CIA tipped off Central Command. A B-1 bomber flying over Baghdad dropped the bombs as soon as it received the urgent instructions and the map of the site to bomb.

The bomber dropped four 2,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or JDAMs, on the target site in the Mansour area.

The attack left a “huge smoking hole” in Mansour and those in the house were all dead, an official at the Department of Defense said.

In addition, four other houses near the bombed house were destroyed and three orange trees were pulled out. The Mansour neighborhood looks like a battlefield now with concrete rubble and broken glass everywhere.

The Washington Times reported that the targeted house was used by the Iraqi Intelligence Agency. President Hussein suddenly appeared at a restaurant near this house on April 4, it added.

The attacks were known to kill a total of 14 people including a whole family of nine, but their identities are yet to be confirmed.

A senior official at the State Department explained that the attack was carried out because the intelligence was credible even though the target was in a residential area.

The possibility that Saddam Hussein escaped from the house right before the strike cannot be ruled out because the house has a secret underground passage. U.S. Central Command said it was quite certain that the dictator may have been in the house at the time of the bombing, according to ABC News.

Ki-Tae Kwon kkt@donga.com