Facing an increasing tide of attacks, American soldiers Friday cordoned off the village where Saddam Hussein was born, suspecting this dusty farming community of being a secret base for funding and planning assaults against coalition forces.
"There are ties leading to this village, to the funding and planning of attacks against U.S. soldiers," said Lt. Col. Steve Russell, a battalion commander with the 4th Infantry Division, which is based in nearby Tikrit.
The operation began before dawn with hundreds of U.S. troops and Iraqi police. They erected a fence of barbed wire, stretched over wooden poles, and laid spirals of razor wire around the village, a cluster of homes set in orchards of pears and pomegranates about six miles south of Tikrit.
Checkpoints were set up at all roads leading into the village of about 3,500 residents, many of them Hussein's clansmen and distant relatives. All adults were required to register for identity cards.
Iraq bill soon to land on president's desk
WASHINGTON _ Congress will soon deliver to President Bush a compromise $87.5-billion package for Iraq and Afghanistan bearing hundreds of millions more than he requested for U.S. troops who served in those operations.
The Senate planned to give final approval to the legislation Monday. The House approved the bill early Friday morning by 298-121, blessing a package whose outlines followed the plan Bush proposed on Sept. 7.
"We will deliver on the president's request, in terms of supporting our military men and women overseas," Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said Friday.
The measure, mostly for the budget year that will run through next Sept. 30, is dominated by $64.7-billion for expenses of the U.S. military.
The bill also has $18.6-billion to rebuild Iraq's economy and government and $1.2-billion for reconstruction projects in Afghanistan.
Senate panel gets some documents on Iraq
WASHINGTON _ A number of documents on prewar Iraq intelligence requested by a Senate committee were turned over by government agencies Friday, but the White House balked on some items, saying it was discussing them with the panel.
Officials of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, who this week gave the CIA, the National Security Council and the departments of State and Defense a noon deadline Friday to comply with requests for information and interviews it made in July, said they were generally pleased with the response.
"The CIA has complied quite substantially," said Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, D-W.V. The others, he said "are taking a little longer, but we want them to understand we are extremely serious about this."