Saddam Faithful Refuse to Surrender; Troops Still Face Deadly Hostile Action

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Martin, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

BAGHDAD - The specter of Saddam Hussein resurfaced in Iraq yesterday, with U.S. forces suffering deadly attacks, pro-Saddam graffiti staining the capital and hooded Arab guerrillas vowing to avenge their fallen leader.

With the upsurge in anticoalition acts, residents of the Iraqi capital expressed fear that Saddam Hussein and his followers remain a threat.

Four U.S. soldiers died and six were injured in an ambush, a land-mine incident and accidents, a reminder that resistance to U.S. control flares up periodically and may be escalating.

One soldier was killed and three injured when their vehicle ran over a land mine or other unexploded ordnance on a highway leading to the Baghdad airport, U.S. Central Command said.

"The incident ... appears to be a result of hostile action, though the specific circumstances of the incident are unconfirmed," Agence France-Presse quoted the command as saying in a statement.

Earlier, the U.S. military reported the death of one soldier and the wounding of another in a 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment convoy that was ambushed by unidentified Iraqis near the town of Hadithah, about 120 miles northwest of Baghdad.

Another American soldier drowned after diving into an aqueduct south of the northern city of Kirkuk, and one was killed and two others injured after their vehicle collided with a tractor-trailer on a road northwest of Tallil.

Special coalition units in Baghdad yesterday arrested a man said by one of his neighbors to have been supplying weapons to the Fedayeen Saddam, the fiercely anti-American paramilitary.

The neighbor, Bara el Jibouri, 21, said police used megaphones to demand the man's surrender after showing other neighbors pictures of him apparently shooting at U.S. aircraft. The man was released later yesterday, looking shaken and hardly able to walk, the neighbor said.

On Sunday, U.S. forces detained a brother-in-law of Saddam, identified as Mulhana Hamood Abdul Jabar, Reuters news agency reported. He was detained in Tikrit, Saddam's hometown and former power base, and had more than $300,000, three AK-47 assault rifles and a rocket-propelled grenade.

Elsewhere in Baghdad yesterday, the base of a statue of Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, Saddam's predecessor and Ba'ath Party leader, displayed freshly painted slogans. "Saddam will come back to you, you traitors," read one. "No peace, no security without Saddam," read another.

Near the Al Mahmoun mosque in another part of Baghdad, another slogan was spray-painted: "We will exact revenge for you, Saddam."

The ousted leader is generally believed to be hiding in Baghdad. American military police and the reconstituted Iraqi police say they receive one reported sighting of Saddam in the city each day.

"I saw him go by in a taxi two days ago - wearing a headdress and a white beard," one informant told U.S. military policemen and a reporter this week.

U.S. military police chief Col. Ted Spain said the policemen find these observations hard to believe and assume Saddam would at least wear sunglasses to hide his identity. …