MOSUL, Iraq - A firefight erupted when U.S. forces surrounded the home of a cousin of Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) in the northern city of Mosul on Tuesday, killing four people. U.S. officials in Washington said they were trying to determine whether Saddam's sons Odai and Qusai were among the dead.
An official with the U.S. civilian administration running Iraq (news - web sites) said "something big has just happened" but would provide no futher information.
According to an Associated Press Television News cameraman in Mosul, residents claimed American soldiers had come to the house looking for Saddam's elder sons.
Members of the 101st Airborne Division had surrounded the house, which belongs to a cousin of Saddam — a key tribal leader in the region — when the fighting broke out in Mosul, 280 miles north of Baghdad.
The stone, columned house in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul was left charred and smoldering, its high facade riddled with gaping holes from bullets and heavy weaponry. Kiowa helicopters roamed the sky.
Some local residents appeared to have been caught in the crossfire. It was not known how many people were injured, but several were taken to a hospital.
The officials in Washington, who spoke on condition of anonymity, gave no further details on the investigation.