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Iraq

No. 10 on list of most wanted surrenders

By Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 18, 2003

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The No. 10 most-wanted Iraqi official surrendered on Saturday, as U.S. military officials launched half a dozen overnight raids and stationed soldiers at gas stations in a high-profile campaign to battle lawlessness.

Gen. Kamal Mustafa Abdallah Sultan Al-Tikriti, who as secretary-general was the top leader of the elite Republican Guard military units, surrendered to U.S. forces in Baghdad, defense officials said.

The arrest of Mustafa, a cousin of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and the queen of clubs card in the Army's most-wanted deck, came after an expanded cadre of U.S. troops acting as police went on 400 patrols and raided six sites. Soldiers arrested 129 people, including and three "Mafia-style" crime bosses, Army officials said.

Crime and chaos in the capital has threatened to undermine support for the U.S.-led toppling of Hussein, but Maj. Gen. Buford Blount and Maj. Gen. William Webster of the 3rd Infantry said Saturday they were doubling night patrols and making substantial progress in restoring order.

Mustafa is the 23rd wanted figure in custody.

G-8 nations agree to give Iraq break on paying debt

DEAUVILLE, France - The United States on Saturday secured a commitment from the world's wealthiest nations not to demand that Iraq begin paying off its huge debts before 2005, easing the country's path to recovery.

U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow said he obtained the pledge from finance ministers of the Group of Eight during their two days of talks.

But Germany, a staunch opponent of the U.S.-led war, ruled out forgiving Iraqi debts, a move Washington is thought to favor.

"Debt cancellation is not a topic of discussion," German Finance Minister Hans Eichel said.

The Group of Eight includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States.

Also . . .

BRITISH CARRIER RETURNS: Thousands of people greeted Britain's flagship aircraft carrier Saturday on its return from leading the country's Persian Gulf task force during the Iraq war.

Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon boarded the HMS Ark Royal when it arrived in its home port of Portsmouth, on England's southern coast. He welcomed home the 600-sailor crew, saying it had done a "tremendous job."

KIRKUK TO ELECT COUNCIL: Maj. Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division, met with nearly 100 residents of the northern oil town of Kirkuk Saturday and outlined a plan to select a city council next week.

The U.S. Army will choose 300 city leaders who will elect 24 delegates. Odierno will round out the body by choosing six prominent citizens to represent different business communities.

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