Baghdad, Iraq Acting on intelligence gleaned from the capture of Saddam Hussein, U.S. troops rounded up dozens of suspected rebels during two days of raids in towns where loyalty to the deposed president remains strong, officials said Sunday. Two Iraqis were killed.
Smashing down doors, troops went house to house in Fallujah, a center of resistance west of Baghdad, early Sunday. Troops of the Army's 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment blockaded Rawah, near the western border with Syria, for a sweep dubbed Operation Santa Claws, the U.S. Army told Associated Press Television News.
Rawah was put under a nighttime curfew, while the towns of Samarra, 75 miles north of Baghdad, and Jalulah, northwest of Baghdad, were also targeted. Support for Saddam has been strong in all of those areas.
Soldiers arrested 60 Iraqis for questioning, and are seeking more than 100 senior members of Saddam's Baath Party and insurgents the military calls "terrorists," said Lt. Brian Joyce of the 3rd Armored Cavalry.
In one of the Rawah raids, a 60-year-old woman was killed when soldiers blasted open the reinforced steel door of her home, said regiment commander Lt. Col. Henry Kievenaar.
Gen. Richard Myers, the chairman of U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said several hundred Saddam loyalists had been rounded up in recent raids. They include "some of the leadership of this insurgency, absolutely, some of the cell leaders," he told Fox News Sunday.
Myers tied arrests to Saddam's capture on Dec. 13. "Some of the information we gleaned when we picked up Saddam Hussein led to a better understanding of the structure of the resistance from the former regime elements," he said.