Hundreds detained in Iraq

22 December 2003
US troops in Iraq have detained hundreds of Iraqis in late December in raids aimed at reducing the number of attacks against coalition troops. US officials said that the detentions had been facilitated by information gathered during the interrogation of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. 'The capture of Saddam Hussein and the intelligence we gleaned from him is a big step in the inevitable process of Iraq's march to democracy,' said the US head of joint staff, Richard Myers, on 21 December. Myers said the progress had come despite Saddam's lack of co-operation during interrogation.

Recent US-led raids in Iraq include:

- Samarra, north of Baghdad, where 111 people were detained,

- Fallujah, in the 'Sunni Triangle', where five were arrested,

- Jalulah, in northern Iraq, where 36 people were held,

- Rawah, in western Iraq, where about 60 Iraqis were detained.

A US military spokesman said that the raids had netted insurgents with a wide range of agendas. 'Those individuals that we have detained have professed to be mujahedin, individuals that have been responsible for supplying money and weapons for not only foreign fighters, but anybody that is trying to attack Iraqis and coalition forces,' he said.

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