Iraqis fled Baghdad after the US
occupation

Citing an Iraqi source close to former president Saddam Hussein’s government, the newspaper said the general, responsible for defending Baghdad, left the city aboard a US military transport plane.

The report said Altikriti was flown to a US base outside Iraq. His departure came on 8 April, a day before US tanks rolled into the heart of Baghdad. US Marines later announced the general had been killed.

Before he left Baghdad, Sufian ordered his troops to lay down their weapons, Iraqi General Mahdi Abdullah Aldulaimi was quoted as saying.

Sufian does not appear on the US military’s list of 55 most wanted Iraqis, which names Barzan Alghafur Sulayman Majid as the Commander of the Special Republican Guard.

An Arab diplomat told Le Journal Du Dimanche the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) planned the plot more than a year ago. “Many suitcases filled with dollars were floating around,” said the diplomat.

“Being cautious, those who accepted the deal only agreed to defect once the American soldiers were in sight. The signal was to be the taking of the airport in Baghdad,” added the diplomat.

US-led troops captured Baghdad’s International Airport on 4 April.

Last month another French newspaper Le Monde reported that Sufian had cut a deal with the US military not to fight in exchange for his freedom.