US troops arrest 42 around Baghdad

US forces in Iraq have arrested 42 people in raids targeting resistance fighters around Baghdad, the military said on Tuesday.

    The US military has been facing increasing resistance in Iraq

    The Third Armoured Cavalry Regiment (3rd ACR) raided what it called "suspected foreign fighter" camps along the Syrian border and captured four people,

    one of whom was on a wanted list.

    The military said it had arrested a total of 20 people around the western al-Anbar province, home to the flashpoint towns of Ramadi and

    Falluja.

    The 4th Infantry Division arrested 22 people in the area north of the capital, including Saddam's hometown of Tikrit.

    US troops have been increasingly facing resistance in and around Baghdad, from what they claim is a combination of Saddam

    supporters and foreign fighters.

    Review of contracts

    The Pentagon is showing a change
    of heart over contracts

    The arrests come as the US signalled on the diplomatic front that it is willing to review its policy barring companies from countries that opposed the war on

    Iraq from bidding for rebuilding contracts.

    Bidding is likely to open this week for the US-funded contracts.

    A Pentagon ruling last month excluded firms from nations that did not support the war, a decision that riled traditional allies such as

    France and Germany, which opposed America's decision to invade Iraq.

    The Pentagon told prospective bidders via a government procurement website on Monday (

    www.fedbizopps.gov

    ) that a list of eligible

    countries for projects funded by $18.6 billion in US funds was being reviewed.

    "This list is under further consideration, however, and may be revised," said the document issued by the Office of the Secretary of

    Defence, which said the original list of 63 countries remained valid.

    Diplomatic sources in Washington said they had noticed signs of a softening by the US government over who could apply for prime

    contracts, following a mission by ex-US secretary of state James Baker to Europe last month to seek forgiveness of Iraq's crippling debt.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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