M O S U L, Iraq, July 31, 2003 -- A $30 million reward has been granted to the Iraqi who tipped off U.S. authorities that Saddam Hussein's sons Odai and Qusai were hiding in his villa in northern Iraq.
Sheik Nawaf al-Zaydan Muhhamad, a regional tribal leader, got the full reward offered by the Pentagon — $15 million for each brother.
The Interagency Reward Committee voted this morning to approve the Pentagon's request for the reward. There is also a $25 million reward leading to the killing or capture of Saddam himself.
Odai and Qusai Hussein and two other Iraqis were killed July 22 in a firefight with U.S. troops at Muhhamad's home in Mosul. What's left of the house is being guarded by U.S. troops.
"We do sincerely appreciate the effort that this individual made and the risk that he took," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said today.
Within 24 hours of the shootout, Zaydan and his family were moved to an undisclosed country for their protection, a U.S. official told ABCNEWS.
A neighbor, Ali Homamed al Djajani, described Muhhamad as a social climber.
"He used to pretend that he was part of the Saddam clan," he told ABCNEWS. "But then he used to stop me on the street and tell me what an awful person Saddam was. I don't understand why he would have agreed to allow Saddam's sons to stay in his house in the first place."
$25 Million Dangling on a Hook
U.S. officials say that since Saddam's sons were killed, many more Iraqis have come forward with tips on the whereabouts of Saddam himself. Knowing that the United States pays big and fast is vital in encouraging more Iraqis to provide vital information.
"Giving that money to that individual, and publicizing that way to the Iraqi people, will likely have a possible effect," said U.S. Army Sgt. Joshua Richardson. "So they can see that we're living up to what we promised."
Mosul resident Ali Al-Jibouri told ABCNEWS there are people who would give up Saddam for the money, but most Iraqis ABCNEWS spoke with said that turning people in for money is unethical.
"Look, we are all poor," said Mohamad El Rawi. "But a real Arab would never do that, no matter what."
When asked if the $30 million payout will increase trust of American intentions in Iraq, most said no. "How can people trust America, if they cannot restore electricity, or bring a few generators?" said Tashin Taha.
Even so, the U.S military insists that in the days since Saddam's sons were killed the number of tips has increased, including information about the former Iraqi dictator himself.
"I would turn in Saddam in," said one man in Baghdad. "Even without the money, because of the pain he caused a lot of people."
Anatomy of a Tip
According to one source, Muhhamad first called the U.S. military headquarters in Mosul to tip them off to the Hussein brothers' whereabouts and then went to the base in person.
Muhhamad apparently left Iraq the day after the raid and is now in U.S. government protection.
The intense, hours-long firefight destroyed Muhhamad's home. U.S. forces used antitank missiles and rockets, but eyewitnesses said resistance from inside the besieged villa was fierce.
During the firefight, neighbors told ABCNEWS, Muhhamad sat calmly in a U.S. military vehicle even as his home was being decimated. Neighbors said Muhhamad told them that Odai and Qusai Hussein had stayed in his home for 23 days before the raid.
The hunt for Saddam has intensified since the raid that killed his sons, and U.S. authorities have said they missed him by just hours in recent searches.
The CIA determined that a tape broadcast this week purporting to be Saddam commenting on the deaths of his two sons was almost certainly authentic, adding further evidence to the belief that the former dictator is alive and on the run.
ABCNEWS' Mike Lee and Tina Babarovic contributed to this report.