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Search for Iraqi Leaders Intensifies

With Saddam Hussein’s power crumbling, the U.S. military has issued a most wanted list of 55 former Iraqi leaders to be pursued, captured or killed. VOA-TV Jim Bertel reports playing cards with photos of the leaders are being given to Coaltion forces to assist in locating Iraq’s most wanted.

They ruled through fear, intimidation and death. Now, they’re on the run. They are the former leaders of Iraq and Coalition forces have been told to find them dead or alive.

Brigadier General Vince Brooks, the Central Command spokesman, says the names are being distributed in many ways, including posters and playing cards.

“The key list has 55 individuals who may be pursued, killed or captured. And the list does not exclude leaders who may have already been killed or captured. This list has been provided to Coalition forces on the ground in several forms to ease identification when contact does occur. And this deck of cards is one example of what we provide to soldiers and Marines out in the field. With the faces of individuals and what their role is.

U.S. forces have twice bombed sites where they believe Saddam Hussein may have been staying, and his fate is still unknown.

The Coalition forces have also targeted Saddam’s son’s Uday and Qusay. Both were key figures in the regime. Qusay, his father’s second in command, oversaw the entire Iraqi security apparatus and the defense of Baghdad.

One influential figure whom British and U.S. officals believe is dead is Ali Hassan Al-Majid, better known as “Chemical Ali” for his role in the 1988 chemical weapons attack on Iraqi Kurds.

Others on the list include the regime’s two most recognizable figures, Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz and the former Minister of Information, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, who boasted of battle field success right up to the time he disappeared on Tuesday.

General Brooks said Coalition forces now control key border crossings in western Iraq, making it more difficult for regime leaders to flee.