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22 April 2003

Two More of Former Iraqi Regime's "Top 55" Caught, Bringing Total to 8

(U.S. Central Command report, April 22: Operations in Iraq) (590)
By David Anthony Denny
Washington File Staff Writer


Washington -- A spokesman for the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM)
confirmed April 22 that two more high-ranking members of Saddam
Hussein's former Iraqi regime have been apprehended over the last two
days by coalition forces.


The two are Jamal Mustafa Abdullah Sultan al-Tikriti, who was the
deputy chief of the tribal affairs office, and Mohammed Hamza
al-Zubeidi, a Ba'ath Party commander and a former deputy prime
minister in the Saddam Hussein regime, according to U.S. Army
Brigadier General Vincent Brooks. Briefing the media at CENTCOM
headquarters near Doha, Qatar, Brooks said the coalition has now taken
into custody 8 of the "top 55" members of Saddam's regime that are
being sought.

On another topic, Brooks confirmed that a cease-fire is currently in
effect with members of the People's Mujaheddin, an alias for the
Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK), one of 34 groups listed as
Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the U.S. Department of
State. He said there have been "encounters of various sorts" with the
group in Iraq, including "targeting them with lethal fire." Coalition
special operations forces began negotiations with the group, Brooks
said.

"At this point, a cease-fire is in effect, and some of the People's
Mujaheddin have moved into what can best be described as assembly
areas. They do have combat equipment, but [are] in a non-combat
formation," Brooks said. The situation "is unfolding at this time, and
we still have work to do to bring that all to a closure, but it is in
fact an ongoing operation," he said.

Other topics discussed at the briefing included:

-- Coalition forces took small arms fire near Mosul and at an airfield
just west of it. A small, disorganized force was repelled and
retreated before any members could be captured, Brooks said.

-- Fifth Corps forces took over all of Baghdad, filling into the areas
vacated by the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

-- Third Infantry Division forces discovered a cache of more than $600
million in U.S. $100 bills behind a false wall during an action to
stop looting, Brooks said. The money was moved to a secure location to
be counted and examined.

-- Coalition forces continue to be guided to caches of explosive
devices, such as vests filled with explosives and coffee tables rigged
with explosives. Brooks said the discoveries reinforce "the need for
deliberate work to root out the terrorists that are still present in
Iraq." The coalition continues to be concerned about possible suicide
attacks, he said.

-- The pilgrimage of Shiite Muslims, long forbidden by Saddam Hussein,
continues and has traveled from An-Najaf to Karbala, Brooks said.

-- The coalition continues efforts to restore services, including
food, medical supplies and facilities, telecommunications, water,
electricity and the oil industry, Brooks said. Iraq's trained oil
industry workers are returning to their jobs, he said. Warehoused
medical equipment and supplies, including electricity generators,
continue to be discovered and put to use.

-- Members of the Iraqi National Congress played a useful role in the
handover of Jamal Mustafa, Brooks said.

-- Hundreds of sites where it is suspected that chemical or biological
weapons were worked on or stored have begun to be investigated, Brooks
said. For every planned investigation, local Iraqis give coalition
forces information concerning two or three other suspected sites, he
said, adding that all of these sites require detailed examination.

(The Washington File is a product of the Office of International
Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:
http://usinfo.state.gov)