The U.S. military says it expects any fighting for control of Tikrit, the birthplace and stronghold of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, to be no different from earlier battles in the three-week-old Iraq War.

U.S. Army Brigadier General Vince Brooks, the Central Command spokesman, says U.S. intelligence has noted a buildup of Iraqi forces around Saddam Hussein's hometown. "The amount of force that remains in Tikrit, we are still making assessments of," he said. "We anticipate that any fighting that would occur there, if we happen to go to Tikrit, would be similar to what we have seen in other parts of the country."

General Brooks told reporters a combination of regular and irregular Iraqi forces seems to have taken up positions in and around Tikrit. Earlier, another U.S. officer said Tikrit could be the scene of the Saddam Hussein regime's last stand.

General Brooks says U.S. forces are busy trying to destroy the regime's command and control capability in the vicinity of Tikrit. But he refused to say when U.S. troops would attempt to launch an assault on the town.