Iraqi police arrest Baath Party leader

Fugitive ranked No. 41 on U.S. most-wanted list

February 16, 2004|By Christine Spolar and Bill Glauber | Christine Spolar and Bill Glauber,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A member of the former regime of Saddam Hussein was captured yesterday as insurgents again attacked U.S. forces patrolling Baghdad.

Iraqi police arrested Baath Party official Mohammed Zimam Abdul Razaq, a key regional political chairman in the northern provinces of Nineveh and Tamim, who was listed as No. 41 on the American military's most-wanted list of 55 fugitives.

Abdul Razaq was arrested as he was hiding in a residence in central Baghdad. Footage from Al Jazeera satellite news showed a man wearing traditional Iraqi dress sitting in a room, apparently after being arrested by the police.

Abdul Razaq, whose authority stretched into the important oil center of Kirkuk, was turned over to coalition officials for interrogation, according to Iraqi Deputy Interior Minister Ahmed Kadhum Ibrahim.

Meanwhile, a roadside bomb exploded near a U.S. convoy in Baghdad. U.S. soldiers were uninjured, according to witnesses, but they responded with rapid fire, shooting into three vehicles. A hospital official from nearby Al-Nur Hospital, said two civilians were killed and five injured in the incident.

A second incident reportedly occurred about a half-mile away, at about the same time yesterday morning, when a U.S. convoy was attacked by gunmen. Three wounded people were reportedly taken from a military vehicle.

The small-scale attacks yesterday followed a bloody week in Iraq in which about 100 people were killed in assaults on police stations and army recruiting centers.

One of the most sophisticated attacks occurred Saturday during a daytime assault by dozens of fighters who attacked a police station in Fallujah.

At least 25 people, mostly police officers, were killed in the raid, more than 30 people were wounded, and the attackers freed dozens of prisoners at the station.

The top U.S. administrator in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer III, suggested yesterday on ABC's This Week that the Bush administration might be open to compromise on when the transfer of power to Iraq will take place.

"The U.S. is here for a long commitment," he said. "The job is to get a democratic, stable, unified Iraq at peace with itself and with its neighbors. And that will take time. It isn't going to end on June 30."

The Chicago Tribune is a Tribune Publishing newspaper. The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Killed in Iraq

Latest deaths

An 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper died Saturday of injuries suffered when his vehicle overturned near Baghdad.

Latest identifications

Army National Guard Spec. Eric Ulysses Ramirez, 31, San Diego; died Thursday in an attack on his unit about 30 miles west of Baghdad; assigned to 670th Military Police Company, Southern California.

-- Associated Press

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