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CNN.com February 27, 2005

Iraq: Saddam's half-brother held

Saddam Hussein's half-brother, who was a personal adviser during his presidency, has been captured, Iraqi government officials said Sunday.

Sab'awi Ibrahim al-Hasan al-Tikriti was No. 36 on the U.S. military's Iraqi 55 Most Wanted List, and one of only 12 people on the list who remained free.

A half-brother on Hussein's mother's side, al-Tikriti held many positions in his regime, the latest being that of Hussein's personal adviser.

There is evidence that al-Tikriti was financing insurgents in the post-Saddam era, an Iraqi intelligence official told CNN.

His son, Omar Sab'awi Ibrahim al-Tikriti, was known as a high-ranking Ba'athist and was active in the "General Union of Iraqi Students and Youth."

Details ofal-Tikriti's capture were not immediately available.

Meanwhile, a major joint operation of U.S. and Iraqi forces continued for a seventh day as troops searched for suspected insurgents Saturday in towns along the Euphrates river in violent Anbar province.

A CNN correspondent embedded with U.S. Marines said forces are trying to surround insurgents who have found sanctuary in cities like Ramadi and Falluja, and smaller towns like Haditha.

"The main focus of the operations is to isolate these towns," senior Baghdad correspondent Jane Arraf said Saturday. "We went into Haditha this morning where tanks had rolled in overnight. They met very little resistance. But what they're trying to do is isolate the towns, surround them, so insurgents have nowhere to go."

Earlier in the week, Iraqi and U.S. forces launched Operation River Blitz, which has resulted in the detention of more than 100 suspected insurgents and the capture of piles of weapons and ammunition in the towns of Anbar, the military said. A huge swath of land that takes up nearly one-third of the country, Anbar is dotted with Sunni towns along the Euphrates River west of Baghdad to the Syrian border.

A U.S. soldier assigned to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force was killed in action Friday, military officials said.

The death brings the total number of U.S. fatalities in the war to 1,492.

In western Baghdad, two Iraqi civilians were killed and a third was wounded Saturday when a suicide car bomber targeted -- but missed -- a U.S. military convoy, Iraqi police said.

The explosion went off about 8:55 a.m. (12:55 a.m. ET) near a supermarket on al-Adil highway, only a few meters from the convoy, police said. There were no U.S. casualties.

Journalist mourned

Raiedah Mohammed Wazan, a 40-year-old television anchorwoman in Ninevah province, was found shot to death Friday in the al-Wahda neighborhood in eastern Mosul, her husband said.

Wazan was buried Friday, and family members kept a mourning service on Saturday private for fear of attacks.

Wazan was abducted a week ago by unknown gunmen. She was found shot in the forehead and chest.

Mosul is the most populous city in northern Iraq, with about 1.74 million residents, according to globalsecurity.org.

Other developments

An Iraqi civilian was shot to death Saturday while preparing a special lunch Shiites cook every Muharram, his relatives said, according to police. The Shiite was shot by unknown gunmen who passed by in a car, authorities said. The shooting occurred in the Sayiddiyah neighborhood of southern Baghdad. Muharram is a holy month to Muslims, marked by fasting.

Seven Iraqis were wounded Sunday when a bomb exploded inside a town building in Hamam al-Alil, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of Mosul, Iraqi police said. The blast occurred about 10:30 a.m. local time (2:30 a.m. ET). The building houses different government departments.

Two Iraqis were killed and others were wounded Saturday when a suicide bomber attempted to attack a military tank. The tank suffered only minimal damage, Task Force Baghdad officials said, and there were no military casualties in the blast about 9 a.m.

Iraqi police and Task Force Liberty soldiers detained four Iraqis after responding to a report of a blast in Tikrit about 8:30 p.m. Friday, military officials said. An investigation determined a bomb had detonated inside an abandoned house.


Copyright 2005, Cable News Network