U.S. defense officials appear optimistic that Saddam Hussein's sons Qusay and Uday have been killed in a shoot-out with American troops in Iraq.
Defense officials say they cannot confirm yet that Saddam's sons Qusay and Uday were indeed killed in a raid staged by U.S. forces on a house in the northern city of Mosul.
But they appear optimistic that the four known Iraqi fatalities from the raid include the ousted Iraqi leader's two sons, who were ranked number two and three on the Pentagon's list of most-wanted former regime officials in Iraq.
Pentagon sources say the raid, involving some 200 U.S. soldiers, was staged on the basis of information that what were termed "individuals of interest" may have been there.
The house that was raided is reported to have belonged to a cousin of Saddam's. According to the al-Jazeera television network, the man has told U.S. soldiers that the two sons of the ousted Iraqi president, along with his grandson and a security guard were in the house.
Qusay Hussein was the head of Iraq's Special Security Organization and was seen as Saddam's possible successor. Uday was the organizer of Saddam's Fedayeen militia and was known for ordering the torture and killing of many Iraqis.
The United States had offered a $25 million bounty for Saddam and $15 million for each of his sons.