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Posted: 6/18/2003 9:45:28 AM EDT
[url]http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/06/18/sprj.irq.main/index.html[/url] WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. forces in Iraq have captured Gen. Abid Hamid Mahmud al-Tikriti, who was Saddam Hussein's personal secretary, national security adviser and senior bodyguard, according to Pentagon sources. Mahmud is the ace of diamonds in the U.S. military's deck of 55 most-wanted Iraqis and No. 4 on the list behind Saddam and his sons Uday and Qusay. (Flash card deck: Iraq's most-wanted) U.S. Central Command said Mahmud was captured Monday but released no additional information. Scattered violence continued Wednesday in Iraq as one U.S. soldier was killed and another wounded in a drive-by attack in southern Baghdad, a U.S. military spokesman said. Witnesses told CNN the troops were shot by an Iraqi man who approached the vehicle on foot. U.S. forces are pursuing the attacker or attackers, according to the U.S. military. Before Wednesday's attack, the Pentagon said 50 U.S. troops have been killed in both hostile action and accidents since May 1, when President Bush declared an end to major combat in the country. In a separate outbreak, U.S. forces shot and killed two Iraqis, part of an angry crowd of former Iraqi soldiers who surrounded an American convoy outside coalition provisional authority headquarters, according to the U.S. military. (Gallery: Confrontation in Baghdad) "This particular convoy ... felt threatened as Iraqis swarmed their vehicles and started breaking out windows and throwing rocks at extremely close range," said U.S. Army Capt. Scott Nauman. "The personnel in the convoy who were directly being attacked did shoot two people. It did appear to be in self-defense." CNN's Ben Wedeman reported a U.S. soldier opened fire with an M-16. The captain said demonstrators had pelted his soldiers with rocks for about an hour when the convoy passed and the crowd approached. The former soldiers were protesting a lack of pay and other issues. They have not received a paycheck in three months, Nauman said. Some 250,000 former Iraqi soldiers no longer have jobs after the United States dismissed them following Saddam's overthrow. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Wednesday that while major combat is over, the president warns of danger from a "loose-knit group" of Baath Party loyalists. "There continue to be elements that support Saddam Hussein," Fleischer said. "These are violent people. They governed Iraq with violence." Overseer: Baathists detained The U.S. civil administrator in Iraq also announced the arrest of senior members of the deposed regime as coalition forces rounded up hundreds in a crackdown on paramilitary fighters and Baathist loyalists. The administrator, L. Paul Bremer, said Tuesday that coalition military and Iraqi police forces have arrested senior members of the former government as well as others "trying to derail the reconstruction and security of this country." "We arrested the former chairman of the Baath Party in Karbala, who had held two American Apache pilots during the war," he said. "We arrested the former secret police chief in Kirkuk. Both these men are being detained by coalition authorities." Central Command said 400 people were arrested in Operation Desert Scorpion, the largest military deployment since the height of the war in April. Half of those arrested were released, according to a Central Command statement. The operation has involved dozens of raids since it began Sunday, focusing on areas in and around Baghdad and in central and northern Iraq near Fallujah, Tikrit and Kirkuk, the statement said.
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