Iraq: September 6, 2004

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Fighting in the last three days has killed about 300 and wounded over 600. The government appears determined to regain control of towns and neighborhoods held by Sunni Arab gangs and Shia religious militias, before the January elections. Otherwise, elections will not be held in those areas. 

Iraqi troops are said to have captured Izzat Ibrahim al Douri, a senior Saddam aide who had a $10 million price on his head. The Iraqis killed 70 of al Douris supporters, and captured another 80, in the battle that broke out in Tikrit during the operation. Al Douri was thought to be one of the key leaders in planning and financing the anti-government attacks. He was number six on the U.S. list of 55 Most Wanted. However, members of the government, and U.S. commanders, deny that an operation to seize al Douri took place.

At the same time, Iraqi police and troops raided Latifiya, a Sunni Arab stronghold 30 kilometers south of Baghdad. Some 500 people were arrested, while 17 policemen were killed and 17 people were wounded. 

Meanwhile, on the Syrian border, U.S. and Iraqi troops are into their third day fighting Sunni Arab gunmen in Tall Afar. The town is thought to be an entry point for men and weapons coming across the border from Syria. 

 

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