The US military released grisly photographs of the bodies of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's sons yesterday to try to convince Iraqis the feared brothers were dead and staunch a wave of deadly guerrilla attacks.
Officers in Baghdad released two mortuary pictures showing the head and torso of Uday and two of Qusay, along with comparative pictures of the brothers when they were alive and X-ray slides apparently used to help identify Uday.
The pictures showed the bodies of the two men lying face up on plastic sheeting. Both had thick beards. Uday's face was splattered with blood from a wound to his nose and upper lip.
Military officers said Uday appeared to have been killed by a bullet in the head, but it was not yet known whether he had been shot by US soldiers or had committed suicide.
A spokesman for the US-led civil authority in Iraq said journalists would be allowed to film the bodies for themselves today to dispel any doubts the photographs were authentic.
Dental records and X-rays also would be made available.
Washington hopes the killing of Uday and Qusay in an attack on their hideout in the northern city of Mosul on Tuesday will tighten the noose around Saddam himself and demoralize guerrillas who have mounted daily attacks on American troops.
But three soldiers were killed south of Mosul early yesterday when their convoy was shot at with AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, in the second deadly attack on the 101st Airborne Division since 200 of its troops stormed the villa in Mosul where Uday and Qusay were hiding.
There was no evidence it was a revenge attack, a US army spokesman said, though he did not rule out that motive.
On Wednesday, one soldier from the division was killed and seven were wounded when two vehicles hit a mine on the outskirts of the city, and in a separate ambush, a soldier from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment was killed west of Baghdad.
Five US soldiers have now been killed since the deaths of Uday, 39, and Qusay, 37, Saddam's heir apparent.
The US army's decision to release the photographs is a controversial one -- the military was outraged when Arab television channels broadcast pictures of dead and captured American soldiers during the war that toppled Saddam.
Many Iraqis had said they would not believe Uday and Qusay were really dead unless they saw proof.
Most Iraqi newspapers do not publish on Fridays, the Muslim holy day, but Ismail Zaiyer, editor-in-chief of Al Sabah, a Baghdad newspaper backed by the US-led administration, said he would run a special edition today to show the photographs.
The brothers were tracked down after a tip-off from an Iraqi informant expected to get the two US$15 million rewards offered for information leading to their death or capture. Their father has a US$25 million price on his head.
They were holed up in a Mosul villa with a bodyguard and Qusay's teenage son, US officials say. Armed only with AK-47 assault rifles, they wounded four American soldiers and held out for hours against a devastating array of US firepower, including attack helicopters, heavy machineguns and grenades.
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