Hours before the Baghdad raids, US forces arrested five Iraqis in the town of Baqubah, including a close aide to Saddam Hussein’s former deputy, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri. A US military spokesperson said that the detainee, who was not named, was funding militant attacks in the ‘Sunni Triangle’.

US troops also detained 26 Iraqi ‘enemy personnel’ late on 23 December in the town of Fallujah, west of Baghdad. Among those arrested are two former Iraqi generals and a former colonel in the Iraqi special forces, the US said.