Deliberate or accidental?: The  
cause of the fire is still unknown 
 

The official said it was not difficult to repair the pipeline. "We can do it in two days," he said. 

 

If the explosions had occurred at the pumping stations it would have been more serious and  difficult, he added.

 

Engineers from the Northern Oil Company have been sent to the spot for the repairs, the official said. He did not know whether the explosions that occurred on Friday were deliberate or accidental.

 

The pipeline, according to Iraqi residents, was set ablaze by resistance fighters who planted explosives at two different points in the pipeline.

 

Air force chief held

Meanwhile, the former commander of the Iraqi air force, Hamid Raja Shalah, was taken into custody by the occupation forces, the US Central Command said on Saturday.

It did not say when or where he was captured.

Shalah was number 17 and the ten of spades on the coalition's "most wanted" deck of playing cards issued with the order to capture or kill on April 11.

More than half the 55 Iraqis listed as most wanted have been captured or surrendered to coalition forces since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, but the whereabouts of Hussein and his two sons Uday and Qussay remain a mystery.