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US: Fall of Tikrit May Not Mean End of War - 2003-04-12

A U.S. military spokesman says the fall of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown and the probable scene of a last stand by his forces, will not necessarily mean the end of the war in Iraq. The U.S. military says it still has to root out pro-Saddam forces in other areas of the country.

Brigadier General Vince Brooks, the Central Command spokesman, says that, if U.S. forces take Tikrit, widely regarded as their next major objective, they will still have other tasks to accomplish before they can declare an end to the war. "If Tikrit falls, and is like other cities that we've gone into, and there's an end to any presence of the regime and no more control by the regime and a removal of military forces, that's just one more city," said General Brooks.

General Brooks says Tikrit is not the only place in Iraq where there still are forces and activities associated with Saddam Hussein's regime. He says there are other areas of the country where what he calls "a regime presence" exists.

And, he says, overthrowing the regime is not the only objective of the U.S. military campaign. He says U.S. forces still need to search for, find and put an end to the Iraqi leader's alleged weapons of mass destruction program.