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U.S. Army Nabs Iraqi Rebel Leader, 78 Others

December 16, 2003

SAMARRA, Iraq (AP) _ American soldiers arrested a rebel leader and 78 other people during a raid north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said Tuesday.

The raid, which began Monday, took place in the village of Abu Safa, near Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad. Insurgents in Samarra ambushed U.S. forces on Monday, and the U.S. military said its troops killed 11 attackers.

At 4:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, troops from the U.S. Army’s 4th Infantry Division arrested Qais Hattam, described as the No. 5 fugitive on the division’s list of ``high value targets,″ said Capt. Gaven Gregory of the 4th Infantry’s 3rd Brigade.

Hattam is not on the U.S. list of the 55 most wanted Iraqis. Thirteen fugitives from that list are still at large after the capture over the weekend of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Soldiers also seized bomb making material, Gregory said.

It was not immediately known if the raid was linked to intelligence gleaned from Saddam, who is under interrogation in U.S. military custody.

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