Skip to comments.US Nabs Aide to Saddam Deputy as Another American Soldier Dies in Iraq (different "al-Duri")
Posted on 12/02/2003 1:38:08 PM PST by Shermy
KIRKUK, Iraq (AFP) - American forces captured the private secretary of Saddam Hussein's longtime deputy in a major operation aimed at netting the key fugitive himself, as Washington's allies fretted over troop deployments in Iraq.
And at least one US soldier was killed when two bomb attacks struck military convoys north of Baghdad near the site of deadly clashes Sunday in which US troops said they killed 54 insurgents.
Saad Mohammed al-Duri was captured near Hawijah, 45 kilometres (28 miles) west of here, during a day in which rumors flew that his boss, Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, had been arrested or even killed.
Hawijah police chief Awad al-Obeidi said the man was arrested in a house where he had been hiding.
Kirkuk's police chief, General Turhan Yusef, said 40,000 dollars was found in the man's possession, which was "suspected of being used to finance attacks on the US-led coalition."
Across north-central Iraq, more than 100 people were nabbed in what Yusef described as a "one-off operation aimed at finding Izzat Ibrahim based on specific intelligence."
Six Iraqis were wounded as several villages put up resistance to the massive cordon and search sweep.
An official of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the dominant Kurdish faction in Kirkuk, said a former general in the disbanded Iraqi army was also arrested in the raids, as was Hamid Saad, a senior official of Saddam's former ruling Baath party in charge of youth and student affairs.
Jalal Jawrar also said an arms cache and attack plans were found in the general's home. Other detainees included former member of the ultra-loyalist Saddam Fedayeen militia and middle-ranking army officers.
Earlier, a senior police official in this northern city told AFP the US military had launched "the biggest search operation ever" in the area to hunt for Duri, the suspected paymaster of many attacks on the coalition.
The operation was concentrated on Hawijah and the village of Rashad, 60 kilometres (37 miles) to the south, he added.
The commander of the sweeps by the 173rd Airborne Division, Colonel William Mayville, said 27 people were arrested and seven rocket-propelled grenades, 56 Kalashnikovs and several improvised explosive devices of the sort favoured by anti-US insurgents seized.
Earlier, a member of the US-installed Iraqi Governing Council, Muaffak al-Rubai, had told Al-Jazeera satellite television a "major figure" from Saddam's former regime had been "killed or captured" in the Kirkuk region.
"Among the people arrested or captured, is a big fish ... a major figure whose identity is being verified," Rubai said, in response to questions about Duri.
Meanwhile, at the scene of one of Tuesday's attacks on US convoys north of Baghdad, and at least one soldier was killed.
A US military spokesman in Baghdad said "a 4th Infantry Division convoy was attacked with an IED (improvised explosive device) south of Samarra. One soldier has died from injuries sustained in the incident."
Reporters said the convoy was escorting a truck carrying a damaged Apache helicopter from Samarra to the capital when it came under attack in the village of Rigga, 10 kilometres (six miles) from the city.
Reporters said the convoy was escorting a truck carrying a damaged Apache helicopter from the troubled town of Samarra to Baghdad.
The fatality raises the total number of US deaths in combat in Iraq to 188 since May 1, when President George W. Bush (news - web sites) declared an end to major fighting.