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Archive for Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Two more high-level surrenders announced

April 30, 2003

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— Two Iraqis on the U.S.-led coalition's 55 most-wanted list -- a weapons expert nicknamed the "Missile Man" and a provincial governor -- have surrendered, the U.S. military and Iraqi opposition sources said Tuesday.

Former oil minister Amer Mohammed Rashid, who earned his moniker because he was Saddam Hussein's point-man on weapons delivery systems, turned himself in Monday and was in coalition custody, the U.S. Central Command said.

Walid Hamed Tawfiq al-Tikriti, the former governor of Iraq's southern Basra province and a member of Saddam's clan, surrendered to the opposition Iraqi National Congress in Baghdad, a spokesman for the group said.

Rashid is the 14th man on the most-wanted list to be captured and No. 47 on the list. He was the six of spades in the deck of cards issued to coalition forces to help identify wanted Iraqi officials.

Central Command, in Qatar, could not confirm the surrender of Tawfiq al-Tikriti, No. 44 on the list and designated the eight of clubs.

Rashid, also a former Iraqi army general, was a member of the regime's Military Industrialization Organization, the group responsible for producing all of the country's most lethal weapons.

His wife is Dr. Rihab Taha, a microbiologist known as "Dr. Germ" who was in charge of the secret Iraqi facility that weaponized anthrax, botulinum toxin and aflotoxin. Her whereabouts are unknown.

Also Tuesday, U.S. officals said military forces captured a terrorist operative in Baghdad who reportedly belonged to a network affiliated with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida group.

The operative, whose identity was not available, is said to be a midlevel employee in a network run by Abu Musab Zarqawi, a bin Laden associate who intelligence officials believe was behind the murder of a U.S. diplomat in Jordan last October.

Pentagon officials said they hope the detention will help prove that the regime of Saddam Hussein had solid links with bin Laden.

¢ The U.S. Army paid several thousand Baghdad policemen $20 each and promised to bring in 4,000 more of their own officers, as Iraqis at a town hall-style meeting told the U.S. administrator that security is their top priority.

¢ U.S. forces have made significant progress in restoring electricity and water to Baghdad and hope to resume television and radio broadcasts by week's end, the commander of U.S. soldiers in the city said.

¢ A group of Iraqis will file a war crimes case against the commander of U.S.-led forces in Iraq, Gen. Tommy Franks, their lawyer said.

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