The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq is offering a $10 million reward for information leading to the capture of one of Saddam Hussein's closest aides.
The reward is for anyone who helps the coalition find Izzat Ibrahim Al-Douri, who is number six on the U.S. list of most wanted members of the former regime. As the former leader of the Revolutionary Command Council, he is the most senior Iraqi leader still at large, aside from Saddam himself.
Coalition officials say they have evidence that Izzat Ibrahim Al-Douri has been directly involved in orchestrating many of the recent attacks against coalition troops, international organizations and Iraqis who work with them.
A spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority, Dan Senor, told reporters Wednesday that the $10 million reward will be paid to anyone who provides key information that leads to Mr. Al-Douri's capture.
"It is a maximum reward which will be based on the quality and the credibility and the usefulness of the information provided," he said.
Coalition military spokesman Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt confirmed earlier reports that U.S. forces destroyed a house belonging to Mr. Al-Douri Sunday night. Military officials say insurgents used the house, located near Saddam's hometown of Tikrit, as an observation post.
The U.S. military, meanwhile, is continuing its aggressive week-long campaign to crush the anti-coalition insurgency in Iraq.
Near Baqubah, north of Baghdad, U.S. Air Force jets dropped two large satellite-guided bombs Wednesday on sites the military believes were being used to make improvised explosive devices, what the military calls IEDs. In the northern city of Kirkuk, coalition officials say fighter bombers dropped bombs on suspected insurgent hideouts.
In recent days, U.S. forces have used heavy artillery, tanks, attack helicopters and war planes to pound targets throughout central Iraq. General Kimmitt dismissed media criticism that some of these search and destroy operations have been heavy-handed and indiscriminate.
"In every one of those structures we attacked, we had strong intelligence suggesting that facility had been used to harbor terrorists, used as mortar firing points, used for the construction of IEDs [improvised explosive devices], used as a former loyalist observation post, any number of reasons which caused us to be concerned," he said.
In southern Diwaniyah province Wednesday, assailants shot and killed Hmud Kadhim, the director general of the Ministry of Education for the region.
Anti-coalition guerrillas in recent months have carried out several assassinations of high-profile Iraqi officials who are cooperating with the coalition administration. Mr. Kadhim was one of the top officials in Diwaniyah province.