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US Captures No. 4 on Iraqi Most-Wanted List - 2003-06-18


The U.S. military says it has captured Abid Hamid Mahmud, the number four man on the most wanted list of Iraqis. Mr. Mahmud was the personal secretary for ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

U.S. Central Command also describes him as being a national security advisor and one of the few people the former Iraqi leader completely trusted.

Mr. Mahmud is the highest-ranking figure on the U.S. military's list to be captured so far. The only people listed above him are Saddam Hussein and his two sons.

Officials say Mr. Mahmud may be able to provide information about weapons of mass destruction.

The former Iraqi official was the ace of diamonds on the U.S. deck of cards portraying leaders of Saddam Hussein's government.

The capture came as coalition forces in Iraq have launched more than 50 raids in recent days and detained hundreds of Iraqis in an effort to wipe out sporadic resistance.

"There is no question but in those regions where pockets of dead-enders are trying to reconstitute General [Tommy] Franks and his team are rooting them out," said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Major General Ray Ordierno briefed reporters at the Pentagon via satellite from Tikrit.

The commander of the Army's 4th Infantry Division says the the current wave of raids will continue as long as there is armed resistance against coalition forces.

"Our soldiers are involved in almost daily contact with non-compliant forces, former regime members and common criminals," explained Major General Ordierno. "To defeat these attacks and to continue to improve the security and stability within our area, the task force is conducting search and attack missions, presence patrols and raids to disarm, defeat and destroy hostile forces as well as to capture the former regime members."

General Ordierno said the raids are helping to stabilize areas north of Baghdad. He added that in the latest raid U.S. soldiers discovered large amounts of cash and detained senior Iraqi military officials.

"Soldiers from 122 infantry conducted two raids on separate farm houses outside of Tikrit seizing $8.5 million U.S. dollars, 300 to 400 million Iraqi dinars and English pounds and euros yet to be counted," he said. "In addition we seized a large cache of jewel and gems estimated to be worth over $1 million in value."