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U.S. detains four more Iraqi officials

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 24, 2003

American forces in Iraq captured four top officials of Saddam Hussein's former government Wednesday, including the air defense force commander and the former head of military intelligence.

However, Knight Ridder Newspapers reported that another senior official thought to have been killed in a coalition airstrike was seen at a Baghdad hospital shortly after the attack.

The four captured Wednesday bring to 11 the number of top former Iraqi officials in U.S. custody. The four are:

NO. 10. MUZAHIM SA'B HASSAN AL-TIKRITI: Headed Iraq's air defenses under Hussein. Of the four, he was highest on the U.S. list of the 55 most wanted officials from Hussein's regime and was the queen of diamonds in the military's deck of playing cards listing those officials.

Al-Tikriti, who was from Hussein's hometown clan, which made up much of the former Iraqi inner circle, also reportedly helped train the paramilitary Fedayeen Saddam forces. U.S. officials have accused the fedayeen of committing war crimes, including using civilians as human shields and killing Iraqis who wanted to surrender.

Pentagon officials said it was too early to determine whether any of the officials would be tried for war crimes or other violations of international law.

NO. 21. GEN. ZUHAYR TALIB ABD AL-SATTAR AL-NAQIB: Former head of the Directorate of Military Intelligence, which monitored the loyalty of Iraq's regular army, provided security at Iraqi military facilities and collected intelligence on military forces opposing Iraq. His brother is married to Hussein's half sister.

Naqib, 56, surrendered to U.S. troops Wednesday, a senior Pentagon official said. He was the seven of hearts.

NO. 48. MUHAMMAD MAHDI AL-SALIH: Former Iraqi trade minister and the six of hearts in the military's deck.

SALIM SAID KHALAF AL-JUMAYLI: Formerly in charge of American operations at the Mukhabarat, which gathered strategic intelligence and conducted covert operations aimed at maintaining government authority. He was not among the 55 most wanted.

Jumayli is suspected of having knowledge of Iraqi intelligence activities in the United States, including names of people spying for Iraq, Jim Wilkinson, director of strategic communications for U.S. Central Command, said in a statement from Doha, Qatar.

He offered no details about how the Iraqi was captured.

However, one top Iraqi whom coalition officials thought they had killed may have survived the attack, Knight Ridder reported.

Hospital workers in Baghdad say they saw the infamous Hussein henchman known as "Chemical Ali" alive in Baghdad just before the city fell, contradicting British army claims that he had been killed in an airstrike on a house in the southern city of Basra on April 5.

The eyewitness reports that Ali Hassan al Majid, who ordered poison gas attacks on Kurdish villages in 1988 that killed 5,000 civilians, was at the Baghdad Nursing Hospital on April 6 or 7 are an indication of how little is known about the whereabouts of Hussein's inner circle.

Two workers at the nursing hospital, an elite 250-bed facility that is part of the huge Saddam Hospital complex, said a healthy Majid turned up at the hospital after the last air attack.

-- Information from the Associated Press, Knight Ridder Newspapers and the Los Angeles Times was used in this report.

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