U.S. troops arrest suspected senior Ba'ath official as Iraqi man killed in Fallujah
U.S. forces arrested a suspected former senior official in Saddam's Ba'ath party in northern Iraq, according to officials Thursday.
In Tikrit, the military said that the Ba'ath Party official was arrested overnight near Baqouba.
The top official's identity, however, was not released, but the military said he was believed to have been helping Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, a longtime Saddam confidant and one of the most senior members of the former regime still at large.
Elsewhere, also Thursday, U.S. troops came under fire near the Fallujah mayor's office and killed one of their attackers, a U.S. officer said. None of the Americans was hurt in the attack by three gunmen.
Two girls were caught in the crossfire and wounded, Lt. Col. Brian Drinkwine said. Their condition, however, was not known. According to witnesses, a woman and child were hit.
"While we were conducting a meeting in the city council building, we were fired upon," Drinkwine said, cited by AP, referring to the building where the mayor has his office. "We returned fire and killed one enemy."
Meanwhile, at the Fallujah General Hospital, the commander of the Fallujah Protection Force, Ali Jassim, said the unidentified dead man was not one of the attackers but, rather, an innocent bystander. He said a policeman, Mohammed Muafaq, 27, was wounded by a gunshot to the hip.
It should be noted that witness accounts of the incident were at odds with that of the military, with some stating the gunmen fired from a passing car on a U.S. foot patrol. Others said a single gunman attacked from the street. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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