British commanders say they believe – but have not confirmed – that they have found the body of one of Iraq’s top generals who allegedly ordered the use of chemical weapons on Iraqi Kurds 15 years ago. News of the possible death of the general known as "Chemical Ali " comes as coalition troops intensify their hunt for leaders of Saddam Hussein’s regime. VOA-TV’s Chris Simkins has more on the story.
Iraqi General Ali Hassan al-Majid was Saddam Hussein’s cousin and a close adviser. He was also commander of all military forces in southern Iraq.
But on Saturday, the general was reportedly killed after coalition warplanes, using laser-guided bombs, attacked his home in the southern city of Basra. British soldiers say they found a body in the rubble of his home they believe is him.
General al-Majid was nicknamed “Chemical Ali” for his leadership of a campaign against rebellious Kurds in northern Iraq in 1988. Poison gas was used in the fighting to wipe out the entire village, in which an estimated 100-thousand Kurds were killed.
NATURAL SOUND SOLDIER BUSTING DOWN DOOR
American and British soldiers are targeting Saddam Hussein’s circle of advisers including lower level members of his ruling Baath party. In Najaf, U.S. soldiers, acting on tips from local people, are looking for various Iraqi officials.
“We’re looking for a certain personnel, the best I understand his name is Nassir Samin and he’s located in this area somewhere.”
Here soldiers search inside a government building. The Iraqi officials they are looking for are not found, but they did collect documents that might lead them to the people they are looking for.
Brigadier General Vincent Brooks says coalition forces are interested in information about Saddam Hussein’s regime.
BRIGADIER GENERAL VINCENT BROOKS, U.S. ARMY
“Our efforts are not about individuals, our efforts are about the regime and its capability. And so while some of these attacks you saw today did not turn up individuals they may well turn up information.”
Iraq’s information minister says Saddam Hussein and his Baath Party leaders are still in control of the country. State-run television has been broadcasting pictures of Saddam meeting with members of his party.
On Friday Saddam was shown in the streets of Baghdad shaking hands with cheering local residents.
Military analysts say while coalition forces wait for the regime to fall, they say it will not end efforts to target Saddam Hussein and some of his most loyal followers.