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Former Iraqi Defense Minister Surrenders - 2003-09-19

The former Iraqi defense minister has reportedly surrendered to U.S. military officials in the northern Kurdish city of Mosul. A mediator says the former general, Sultan Hashim Ahmad, has been promised special treatment.

The surrender of Mr. Ahmad reportedly came after weeks of mediation between his representative and U.S. military commanders in northern Iraq.

The representative, Dawood Bagistani, told a news conference the former general turned himself in early Friday and was being taken to Baghdad.

Mr. Bagistani, who is a Kurdish human rights activist, says the Americans promised to treat Mr. Ahmad with dignity and not to prosecute him for any crimes.

Mr. Ahmad had served as defense minister during the 1990 invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent Gulf War. However, he was viewed largely as a figurehead, with President Saddam Hussein making the key wartime decisions.

The former general was on the list of the 55 most wanted Iraqis.

In other developments, U.S. spokesmen say three American soldiers were killed and two wounded in an ambush late Thursday just south of Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit.