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U.S. Captures Former Head of Iraqi Intelligence Service - 2003-04-17

U.S. troops in Iraq continue to manage urban unrest and search for leaders of Saddam Hussein’s former regime. VOA TV’s Jim Bertel reports another of Iraq’s 55 most wanted figures is now in coalition custody.

U.S. troops in Iraq captured Saddam Hussein’s half brother Barzan Ibrahim Hassan Al-Tikriti in a nighttime raid in Baghdad. Brigadier General Vincent Brooks, a spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, described him as a senior advisor to Saddam. Al-Tikriti is a former head of Iraq’s intelligence service, who has extensive knowledge of the regime's inner workings.

“The capture demonstrates the coalition’s commitment to relentlessly pursuing the scattered members of a fractured regime. Efforts related to other regime leaders are ongoing.”

General Brooks also confirmed U.S. forces had been attacking fighters of the pro-Saddam Iranian opposition group, Majahideen I-Khalq in Iraq.

“We know there is a presence of the Mujahideen I-Khalq inside of Iraq and indeed we have been targeting them for some time. There’s work that’s ongoing right now to try to secure some sort of agreement that would be a cease-fire and capitulation.”

In Baghdad, U.S. troops broadened their efforts to restore law and order in a city plagued by widespread looting since the regime collapsed. A Marine unit went to a pillaged branch of the Al-Rashid bank on Thursday, where it removed the remaining stacks of cash for safekeeping elsewhere.

In other parts of the city, the Iraqi people are slowly regaining access to one of the things they need most: jobs. Many stores and restaurants have reopened and within days, the U.S. led interim government will begin paying Iraqi civil servants.

In the southern oil fields, hundreds of former employees lined up to be photographed and sign new contracts.

“We want to work here in this company. We need dress, water, food, yes. Anything. We want anything here!”

Iraq’s hospitals, already low on medicine before being ransacked by looters, are beginning to receive fresh supplies. U.S. Marines are helping transport medical aid donated by Qatar to Baghdad.


Protests continued on Thursday outside the Palestine hotel in central Baghdad. Many are upset at the lack of basic services – particularly water and power. But progress is being made in restoring the city’s infrastructure. The international committee of the Red Cross reports water has been restored to some areas of the city, and a marine commander said some electricity should be restored by Friday.