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Coalition Forces Capture High-Level Baath Party Leader

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2005 – Coalition forces captured the leader of the New Baath Party in Diyala province, Iraq, during a Nov. 9 patrol, officials announced today.

Coalition members apprehended Hamid Sharki Shadid along with physical evidence at his home. Shadid is a former member of the Baath Party in Diyala province and is suspected of being responsible for all insurgent Baath Party activities in that area.

Coalition forces believe he can provide crucial information on the whereabouts of former Staff Gen. Jamal Karki, a suspected Baathist insurgent, and Abd-al-Baqi al-Saadun, who has been a fugitive since the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003, Multinational Force Iraq officials said.

As the former Baath Party regional chairman of Diyala province and regional chairman of southern Iraq, Saadun is wanted for crimes against humanity committed during the 1999 Shiite uprising. Saadun has remained a key leader within the Iraqi insurgency, recruiting and financing foreign terrorists in eastern and central Iraq. Saadun also actively coordinated, financed and directed attacks against Iraqi police and civilians in Nasiriyah, Basra and Diyala provinces.

Officials believe that Saadun finances insurgent activities with money stolen from the people of Iraq during the Saddam regime and that Shadid may be an accomplice. Coalition forces will continue their pursuit of Saadun and Karki and view Shadid's capture as a step closer to their apprehension, officials said. Up to $1 million is being offered for the capture or killing of Saadun.

In other news from Iraq, soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 155th Infantry, 155th Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), discovered a weapons cache in an area west of Iskandariyah Nov. 13. Troops seized and destroyed 287 82 mm mortar rounds. Five individuals suspected of insurgent activity were detained in conjunction with the weapons cache seizure. The 155th BCT is an Army unit assigned to the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Elsewhere, south of Baghdad near Salman Pak, Task Force Baghdad offensive operations continue to pay dividends. A recently detained suspected terrorist revealed information on others who are suspected of making and planting roadside bombs.

"The suspect has been able to positively identify other terrorists he knows, and we expect dividends to continue," said Army Capt. Brad Gannaway, an intelligence officer with 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment.

Another terrorist was detained Nov. 2 and is currently awaiting prosecution through the Iraqi judicial system, officials said.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Task Force Baghdad news releases.)

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