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Former Iraqi Interior Minister Surrenders to Coalition Forces - 2003-08-09


U.S. military forces report that another official of Saddam Hussein's Cabinet has surrendered to coalition forces. Meanwhile, there have been reports of gun battles in various parts of Iraq.

The Central Command reports that number 29 on its most wanted list, former Iraqi Interior Minister Mahmud Dhiyab al-Ahmed, surrendered to coalition forces Friday. Coalition troops have pledged to continue to capture former members of the regime, with the top goal being deposed dictator Saddam Hussei.

Both U.S. and British troops were involved in skirmishes in Iraq Saturday. At least two U.S. soldiers were wounded when a rocket-propelled grenade was fired on their patrol in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, in the north of the country.

In the southern port city of Basra, British troops clashed with hundreds of angry Shiite Muslim protesters demanding increased supplies of electricity and fuel. Tempers flared as the demonstrators threw stones at the soldiers, vandalized cars and burned tires.

The Coalition Provisional Authority's head, Paul Bremer, conceded in a news conference in Baghdad that there would continue to be power problems. But he said there has been rapid improvement in electricity production, from generating 300 megawatts in April up to 3,500 megawatts at present.

"There will be a long-term problem on power, as I have said here before, because Saddam Hussein squandered the oil resources of this country through spectacular economic mismanagement for almost four decades, and did not build enough power plants," he said. "We are going to have to find a way to spend some $2 billion over the next year to build enough power plants to meet current demand for power."

In the central Iraqi town of Fallujah, 50 kilometers west of Baghdad, U.S. forces backed by helicopters and armed vehicles raided a house and arrested a former local commander of the Baath party militia.

U.S. troops also say they confiscated weapons, explosive devices and ammunition in raids across Iraq over the last 24 hours. Acting on tips from Iraqi informants, U.S. soldiers seized surface-to-air missiles and other weapons that officials said could have been used in attacks on coalition forces.