US forces capture former Iraq air defense force commander, trade minister
American forces in Iraq captured four top officials of Saddam Hussein's former government Wednesday, including the air defense force commander and the former head of military intelligence.
The highest-ranking official in the group is Muzahim Sa'b Hassan al-Tikriti, who headed Iraq's air defenses under Saddam. He was No. 10 on the U.S. list of the top 55 most wanted officials from Saddam's regime and the queen of diamonds in the military's deck of playing cards listing those officials, AP reported.
Al-Tikriti, who was from Saddam's hometown clan, also reportedly helped train the paramilitary Fedayeen Saddam forces.
Pentagon officials said Wednesday it was too early to determine whether any of the officials would be tried for war crimes or other violations of international law.
The latest captures bring to 11 the number of top former Iraqi officials in U.S. custody. Another three in the top 55 are believed to have been killed, Pentagon officials claimed.
Gen. Zuhayr Talib Abd al-Sattar al-Naqib, the former head of the Directorate of Military Intelligence, surrendered to U.S. troops Wednesday, a senior Pentagon official said. Naqib was No. 21 on the 55 most wanted list and was the seven of hearts in the deck of cards produced by the U.S. military with pictures of Saddam's associates.
The 56-year-old Naqib told The Los Angeles Times in an interview before his surrender that he had no apologies for his involvement in Saddam's government. He also made it clear that he had not always agreed with the Iraqi leader.
Also captured Wednesday was Muhammad Mahdi al-Salih, the former Iraqi trade minister and No. 48 on the most wanted list. He was the six of hearts in the military's deck.
Also Wednesday, allied special operations troops captured a Mukhabarat officer formerly in charge of American operations, a senior U.S. official said.
Jim Wilkinson, director of strategic communications for U.S. Central Command, identified the prisoner as Salim Said Khalaf al-Jumayli. He was not among the 55 most wanted.
Al-Jumayli is suspected of having knowledge of Iraqi intelligence activities in the United States, including names of people spying for Iraq, Wilkinson said in a statement from Doha, Qatar. (Albawaba.com)
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