US arrests Saddam loyalists

US troops arrested a man in Saddam Hussein's hometown in a night-time raid on Friday and said he was suspected of organising attacks on American forces in Iraq.

    US forces believe there are many Saddam sympathisers in Tikrit

    The middle-aged man, whose name was not given, was

    handcuffed and blindfolded before being driven away from his

    home by occupation forces.


    "The individual that we were targeting tonight we believe is

    involved in organising attacks on US forces, in moving arms

    for those attacks and also providing security for members of the (Saddam) regime," Lieutenant-Colonel Steve Russell said.


    No shots were fired and the man appeared to give no



    Senior US officers in Tikrit said two other Saddam loyalists were arrested during the day, the latest in a series

    of captures that soldiers say may bring them closer to Saddam



    Saddam tape


    The news comes as a CIA analysis of a new audio tape broadcast on Friday found a "high likelihood" that it is Saddam Hussein's voice.


    It was the second audio tape purportedly by Saddam broadcast this week.


    The speaker on the latest audio tape, aired by Aljazeera television, forecast that US and British forces would soon be defeated by Iraqi resistance.


    "Our belief is strong that God will grant us victory and we

    are confident that the moment for the foreign army to collapse

    is possible at any moment," the message said.

    CIA: Saddam tape was probably


    Iraqi war crimes tribunal


    Meanwhile, the United States said on Friday it wanted a special panel of Iraqi judges to try toppled dictator Saddam Hussein and his aides for crimes against humanity if they are captured alive.


    "Those responsible for atrocities against the Iraqi people

    should be brought before an Iraqi-led tribunal," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.


    "We think it's important that Iraqis assume ownership of this process."


    Boucher added the United States reserved the right to

    prosecute those responsible for attacks against US personnel in Iraq.


    His comments came in response to questions about a report in the New York Times that said Washington was not looking to create a broad-based international tribunal or one led by the United Nations to try Saddam and his former associates.


    Pneumonia outbreak


    In another development, the US Army has dispatched a team of medical experts to Iraq to investigate a spate of serious pneumonia cases among US troops.


    Two soldiers have died and more than 100 have fallen sick with pneumonia symptoms since March, officials said on Friday.


    "It is pneumonia. The question is what is the cause," said Lyn Kukral, spokeswoman for the Army Medical Command.


    "You've got a healthy population and a young population (US troops), and you have two soldiers who have died, and that's a concern." 

    Pneumonia is a sometimes fatal infection or inflammation of the lungs

    SOURCE: Reuters


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