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Family scattered far and wide

Baghdad, Dec. 15: The remnants of Saddam Husseinís once-powerful extended family, which has been linked in some reports to the tip that led to his capture, are scattered throughout West Asia.

Many have been captured or killed by US troops ó or, by Saddam, himself, in long-ago disputes ó but three daughters, one son, two wives and other more distant relations survive, mostly in exile.

Saddam, 66, married twice and had three daughters and three sons. His two oldest sons, Qusay and Uday Hussein, were killed on July 22 by US troops, and their mother, Saddamís first wife, Sajida Khairallah Telfah, may have sought refuge in Syria after the US-led invasion of Iraq.

His two widowed daughters, Raghad Saddam Hussein, 36, and Rana Saddam Hussein, 34, were given sanctuary by Jordanís King Abdullah II in July, along with their nine children, after remaining for months in US-occupied Baghdad. Saddam had ordered their husbands killed in 1996 after they defected to Jordan and announced plans to try to overthrow him.

The whereabouts of Saddamís first wife and youngest daughter, Hala, are unclear, though some reports placed them in Syria. Halaís husband, General Kamal Mustafa Abdallah Sultan al-Tikriti, was number 10 on the list of most-wanted former officials and surrendered to US forces in May.

Saddamís second wife, Samira Shahbandar, and her son, Ali, 21, are reportedly in Lebanon, where she was exiled after the US attack on Iraq.

Several other relatives, some of whom were pictured on the US defence departmentís most-wanted deck of cards, were taken captive during or after the invasion. Among them: Saddamís cousin and presidential secretary, Abid Hamid Mahmud al-Tikriti, on June 16; another cousin, Barzan Abd al-Ghafur Sulayman Majid al-Tikriti, Special Republican Guard commander, on July 23; half-brother Watban Ibrahim Hasan, a presidential adviser, on April 13; and half-brother Barzan Ibrahim Hasan, presidential adviser, on April 16.

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