The commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, General Tommy Franks, says Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and other members of his government are either dead or fleeing. The general was speaking to reporters at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan, where U.S.-led coalition forces continue to track down fugitives from the deposed Taleban regime and the al-Qaida terror network.
General Tommy Franks said Iraq's former rulers are "either dead or running like hell." He vowed that the search for deposed President Saddam Hussein and his associates will continue.
General Franks dismissed allegations that U.S. forces in Baghdad targeted a mosque on Thursday. He says a gun battle at the mosque was in response to U.S. intelligence that Iraqi leaders were hiding in the area. The general stressed that U.S. forces had come under fire from within the mosque.
Meanwhile, General Franks says he sees no evidence that remnants of Afghanistan's former Taleban regime are regrouping or have stepped up attacks within the country. He says the number of attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan has remained constant over the past year.
Thousands of U.S. and allied forces are hunting down remnants of the Taleban and al-Qaida terrorist network in Afghanistan. Those fugitives are blamed for several attacks against U.S. and Afghan soldiers in recent weeks. The campaign is seen as an attempt to destabilize the transitional government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.