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US Arrests Relatives of Aide to Saddam Hussein


U.S. soldiers in Iraq have arrested the wife and daughter of one of Saddam Hussein's closest aides, who is suspected of orchestrating attacks on American troops. Visiting British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, experienced first hand the anti-coalition violence that has escalated in recent weeks.

The U.S. military says it arrested the wife and daughter of Saddam's top deputy, Izzat Ibrahim Al-Douri, during a raid Tuesday in the Sunni Triangle town of Samarra, north of Baghdad.

It is not clear if Izzat Ibrahim Al-Douri himself was believed to have been in the vicinity at the time of the arrests. The former vice-chairman of Saddam's Revolutionary Command Council is number six on the U.S. list of most wanted Iraqis.

Last week, U.S. officials offered a $10 million reward for information leading to his capture. The military says it has evidence that the general is directly responsible for planning some of the attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq.

Meanwhile, anti-coalition opponents fired at least three rockets late Tuesday at the sprawling Baghdad headquarters of the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority. A warning siren wailed and flares lit up the sky as residents inside the compound took cover in bomb shelters.

Coalition officials say the rockets landed outside the compound, hitting a bus station, a propane gas station and an apartment building. The rockets wounded two Iraqis.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, on a two-day unannounced visit to Iraq, was staying at the coalition headquarters when the attack occurred.

Mr. Straw acknowledged that establishing security in Iraq presents a huge challenge for the coalition. But he says he remains confident that a political transition to Iraqi rule will improve the security situation.

"The more that we can give all Iraqis a stake in their future and a stable political architecture in which to work, the more I believe more Iraqis will become committed to that future and fewer of them will think that terror and acquiescence in terror is the way forward," said the British official.

Mr. Straw says there is no timetable to withdraw coalition forces from Iraq. He says the troops will stay as long as the new Iraqi government and the people want them to stay to ensure a peaceful transition to democracy.

Foreign Secretary Straw says he met Tuesday with members of the Iraqi Governing Council to discuss the political process. Under a U.S.-backed plan, the coalition administration is to transfer sovereignty to a new transitional government by end of next June.

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