"It will be helpful, it won't end the attacks," Paul Bremer, the US-occupation administrator in Baghdad said.

His was the first admission by a leading US official that the resistance attacks had wider support in Iraq.

The occupation forces have so far preferred to blame all attacks on a handful of loyalists of the ousted Saddam regime.

Bremer said the capture of Saddam would dash the hopes of those who still dreamed of the former Iraqi president staging a comeback.

Saddam's location

"I think he is still in Iraq, he is still alive," Bremer said.

"We don’t have any immediate intelligence as to exactly where he is."

Bremer said he had ordered a thorough probe into Sunday's rocket attacks on the Baghdad hotel where US Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was staying.

"I asked for a complete investigation into this and my security people are looking into it," he said.

"We have a major terrorist problem in Iraq. We are on front in the war on terrorism," Bremer claimed.