CNN BREAKING NEWS
U.S. Captures Former Saddam Bodyguard, Iraqi General
Aired August 12, 2003 - 12:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: We want to take you straight to Baghdad now. Word coming in, U.S. forces capturing one of Saddam Hussein's former bodyguards in a raid in Tikrit.
Harris Whitbeck now live from Baghdad with more.
Harris -- what can you tell us?
HARRIS WHITBECK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Kyra.
The Associated Press is reporting that one of Saddam Hussein's former bodyguards and a former general, who was a high-ranking member of Saddam's Baath Party, have been detained during a series of raids, which took place in Tikrit. Fourteen people in total were detained, but at this time, the only word we have is the identity of these two apparently high-ranking members of Saddam Hussein's inner circle.
Over the last couple of days, the U.S. Army's 4th I.D. and others have been running Operation Ivy Lightening, which was basically a series of raids being conducted outside of the major urban centers in the Tikrit area. As you know, Tikrit is Saddam Hussein's hometown.
And U.S. military commanders on the ground say they feel that they have been able to flush Saddam loyalists from the major urban centers and into the outlying areas. It is precisely in those outlying areas where these two close associates of Saddam Hussein were caught -- again, according to the Associated Press.
Again, one is a former bodyguard to Saddam Hussein, and the other person who has been identified is a former general, who is a senior member -- or was a senior member of Saddam's Baath Party -- Kyra.
PHILLIPS: Quickly, Harris, you've been going out on these raids, following closely with the soldiers. Is this a step closer to Saddam Hussein?
WHITBECK: Well, it's really hard to say, Kyra. Over the last several days, the feeling that we get from military commanders on the ground is that they've been trying to distance themselves a bit from those earlier comments made by top military commanders that they felt that they were very close to Saddam Hussein.
Now, they do feel that every raid they conduct is helpful to them. They say that their bigger picture mission, if you will, in the region is basically force protection and to provide security.
And as they've detained some of these members for the former regime, they feel that they are closing in, in the sense that they giving Saddam Hussein less people to turn to as he continues to hide -- Kyra.
PHILLIPS: Harris Whitbeck live from Baghdad. Thank you. We'll follow that breaking news story.
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