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Iraqi nuclear scientist surrenders to U.S. troops

U.S. officials: Detainee cooperating with interrogators

From Chris Plante
Pentagon Correspondent

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An Iraqi scientist associated with Saddam Hussein's nuclear program has surrendered to U.S. authorities in Baghdad, U.S. defense officials said Friday.

The officials identified the scientist as Abdullah Abbus Khandush, and said he was cooperating with the United States but that any information he was providing would not be made public, at least in the short term.

It's hoped the scientist, who was captured Thursday, will be able to provide information about Iraq's nuclear weapons program. Disarming the regime of suspected nuclear, chemical and biological weapons was a prime reason given by the Bush administration for launching the war that toppled Saddam. To date, no such weapons have been found.

Iraq's official nuclear program was dealt a setback in 1981, when a reactor it was building in Osirak was destroyed in a raid by the Israeli air force.

Khandush is not one of the 55 most-wanted Iraqis from the deck of cards listing the top regime figures sought by the United States, but he is named on a longer, unpublished list of wanted Iraqi leaders.

Also taken into custody Thursday was an unnamed Iraqi described by officials as a former Baath Party leader from Fallujah.

It was not clear whether the former Baath Party leader was taken into custody by force or whether he surrendered.

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