US troops make arrests in Tikrit; Sources: Saddam deputy coordinating attacks against American forces
US troops carried out pre-dawn raids Thursday in Saddam Hussein's hometown and detained more than a dozen suspects, the U.S. military said.
Under the cover of darkness, troops fanned out across downtown Tikrit, raiding six houses.
U.S. forces had "reliable intelligence" that the suspects were involved in establishing a "new terrorist network in Tikrit and planning terrorist attacks against coalition forces," Lt. Col. Steve Russell told The Associated Press after the operation.
All in alla, U.S. troops detained 14 suspects, including four identified as "targeted individuals," said Russell. He added the other 10 men were taken into custody for questioning because they were closely related to the four and could provide "additional information."
"We continue to work against these cells, to disrupt, capture or kill them," Russell said.
Meanwhile, a senior defense official said Wednesday that a prominent member of Saddam's ousted regime is believed to be helping coordinate attacks on American forces with members of an Al Qaeda-linked group,
Two captured members of Ansar al-Islam have said Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri is helping to coordinate their attacks, the official said, according to The AP.
Al-Douri is No. 6 on the most-wanted list of 55 Iraqis and was vice chairman of Iraq's Revolutionary Command Council.
The defense official who discussed the al-Douri link said he did not know if the al-Douri-Ansar alliance was responsible for the Baghdad bombings. He said military officials don't know to what extent al-Douri was coordinating attacks with Ansar. (Albawaba.com)
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