US forces intensify efforts to catch Saddam Hussein
U.S. troops captured one of Saddam Hussein's bodyguards during a raid early Tuesday in the former leader's hometown, AP reported. Elsewhere, Iraqi resistance blew up a major civilian bridge in a bid to disrupt the U.S. occupation.
During the pre-dawn Tikrit raid, soldiers fired two shots before storming a house to capture the bodyguard. Adnan Abdullah Abid al-Musslit was escorted from the home minutes later, blood seeping through his hat. "We got our prime target," said Lt. Col. Steve Russell. "This man was a close associate of Saddam Hussein." He added that he was "one of Saddam's lifelong bodyguards."
According to AP, at least two other suspected associates of Saddam were also taken into custody Tuesday. The Army had targeted three men in the raids and captured all of them, Russell said. The arrested bodyguard had close ties to Watban Ibrahim Hasan, Saddam's half brother and presidential adviser, Russell said.
Watban was arrested on April 13 in the northern city of Mosul as he tried to flee through Syria, U.S. officials said at the time.
Al-Musslit had retired from his job as one of Saddam's most trusted bodyguards, but the ousted Iraqi ruler called him back into service before the war started, Russell said, citing intelligence gathered from Tikrit residents.
North of Baghdad, Iraqi resistance floated a bomb on a palm log down the Diala River, a Tigris tributary, and detonated it under an old bridge linking the northern cities of Baqouba and Tikrit.
U.S. soldiers had built a pontoon bridge farther downstream and were renovating the old bridge, but after the explosion they closed both to the public.
"We've been repairing it since the end of April, but now we've got people trying to blow it up," said Lt. Col. Bill Adamson, a 4th Infantry Division commander. "Because of this damage we've got to shut it to all the civilian traffic." (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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