Iraqi forces 'seize Haifa Street terrorist'

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The Independent Online

Iraqi security forces today arrested a suspected terrorist operating on Baghdad's blood-soaked Haifa Street, an Iraqi commander said.

Iraqi security forces today arrested a suspected terrorist operating on Baghdad's blood-soaked Haifa Street, an Iraqi commander said.

Five other suspected insurgents were also taken into custody as US and Iraqi forces clashed with rebels on the main thoroughfare, said Col. Mohammed Abdullah.

Acting on tips from local residents, Abdullah said Iraqi security troops backed by US forces caught Kadhim al-Dafan as he hid out in his home. The suspected terrorist reportedly told Abdullah he was hurriedly trying to disguise himself with his wife's underclothing.

Abdullah, commander of the Iraqi National Guard's 303rd Battalion, said Kadhim was believed to be a key leader in the Haifa street neighborhood, responsible for setting off car bombs and other terrorist acts. The area is a major insurgent enclave and the scene of recent fighting and sweeps by U.S. troops to net rebel leaders.

The commander said his troops also uncovered large caches of weapons, ammunition and explosives secreted between graves of the nearby Sheikh Omar cemetery.

During the operation, an Associated Press photographer saw about a dozen person arrested along Haifa Street. Their hands were tied and the group was placed behind a razor wire barrier. It was not known whether these included the six persons Abdullah said had been seized.

Also Wednesday, a roadside bomb went off in a north Baghdad neighborhood, killing one person in a passing vehicle and wounding a bystander, Abdul-Rahman said.

Witnesses said that the bomb apparently went off while it was being planted by rebels.

Earlier, a US warplane struck a rocket launcher mounted on the back of a vehicle in the Baghdad slum of Sadr city late Tuesday, destroying the vehicle but igniting several secondary explosions, the US military said Wednesday.

"The vehicle was fired on and destroyed in an open area away from buildings and other people," said Capt. Brian O'Malley of the Army's 1st Brigade Combat Team.

Maithem Mahmoud of the al-Sadr General Hospital said one man was killed and a woman injured in the US strike late Tuesday.

Two Iraqi civilians were also killed and four others injured when unknown assailants threw a hand grenade at a tent erected on the side of the road just south of Baghdad late Tuesday, hospital officials said. The victims were headed on a pilgrimage to the holy Shiite city of Karbala.

Also south of Baghdad, in the town of Latifiya, gunmen open fire late Monday on two vehicles carrying policemen, killing seven persons inside the cars, a hospital official said. The bodies of the seven, who were on their way from Baghdad to the southern city of Nassiriya, were brought to the Iskandariya General Hospital, said Dr Salah Hamza.