U.S. Army Arrests 200 Iraqis Near Tikrit
The predawn operation met no resistance, though mortar rounds exploded nearby, the Associated Press reported.
U.S. officials did not give the name of the captured Iraqi official who was reportedly on the list of 55 most wanted leaders. Five Iraqi special security officers were also arrested, including “two Iraqi army generals and a general from Saddam’s security forces who had disguised himself as a shepherd,” AP correspondent David Rising reported.
Members of the Iraqi Republican Guard were also captured, according to CNN.com.
Tikrit is Saddam Hussein’s native city and was once considered a stronghold of the former ruling Baath party. The Army did not release the name of the raided village.
500 soldiers reportedly sealed off the village around 2 a.m. and then moved from house to house, detaining prisoners.
“Among the 200 people taken into custody were some teenage boys and elderly men. Each was zip-cuffed — had their hands tied with plastic — and ordered to sit or kneel on the roads outside their homes. Many were kept in custody outside a large mansion with high walls,” Risling reported.
U.S. officials said the operation, which was planned based on a tip received a week ago, was successful. The Army had been gathering intelligence on the village through the use of discreet patrols and unmanned aircraft, according to the AP.
“We’re going to continue to hunt them until they get so tired of running that they give themselves up or we catch them,” Maj. Mike Silverman, whose unit participated in the raid, told the AP.
“I think it was very successful,” Silverman added. “We got one top-55 guy and about a dozen fairly bad guys off the street. And again we sent the message that we know the shadow regime is out there and it won’t be tolerated.”