Death of Saddam’s sons cheers beleaguered Blair

Prime Minister Tony Blair has cheered the news that Uday and Qusay, the sons of fallen dictator Saddam Hussein, have been killed by US forces.

General Ricardo Sanchez, the commander of ground forces in Iraq, said, on Tuesday, he was “certain” that Uday and Qusay were dead following the gun battle in the northern Iraqi town of Mosul.

The attack took place following a tip off pinpointing the whereabouts of the two men.

Mr Blair said it was “great news” that the two men were dead as it symbolised a “great day for the new Iraq.”

“These two particular people were at the head of a regime that wasn’t just a security threat because of its weapons programme but was responsible for the torture and killing of thousands and thousands of innocent Iraqis.

“The celebrations that are taking place are an indication of just how evil they were.”

Separately, the US military claims to have captured the commander of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard Barzan Abd Al-Ghafur Sulayman Majid Al-Tikriti.

The man was number 11 on President Bush administration’s 55 most-wanted list.

With the death of Saddam’s sons, number two and three on the list, and the capture of Barzan Abd Al-Ghafur Sulayman Majid Al-Tikriti, the US has captured 37 of the most wanted people in Iraq.

Elsewhere, the US has said it is contemplating releasing photographs of Uday and Qusay, in a bid to convince Iraqis that the old regime is no more.

US President George Bush said of the death of Saddam’s sons: “In the city of Mosul, the careers of two of the regime’s chief henchmen came to an end.

“Saddam Hussein’s sons were responsible for torture, maiming and murder of countless Iraqis.

“Now more than ever, all Iraqis can know that the former regime is gone and will not be coming back.”

But Dr Mahmoud Othman, member of the new Iraqi Council, said it would have been better if Uday and Qusay had been captured alive as the populace could have seen first hand that they were no longer a threat.

Dr Othman told the BBC: ‘It would definitely be better if they were captured alive. I think if they were captured alive, they would have had a trial and people would have seen what crimes they had committed.’

“We would have liked that very much but it seems there was a fight and they were killed.

“The Iraqi people are celebrating their death, really, because these people have committed a lot of crimes against ordinary Iraqis. Last night there was a lot of shooting in the air and most people were celebrating that incident because these men were so cruel, especially Uday.”

Dr Othman continued: “That is why nobody is regretting what happened. It is the big majority who are celebrating and they like it. But everyone does say it would have been better if they had been captured.’

Dr. Othman concluded that that was also ‘something we can attribute to resistance sometimes.”