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U.S. Marines target final major Iraqi city

Saddam's top science adviser surrenders


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(CNN) -- Elements of the U.S. 1st Marine Expeditionary Force set out Saturday toward Tikrit -- the only major Iraqi city not under U.S.-led coalition control.

U.S. Central Command spokesman Army Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks said forces would be "relentless" in their efforts to capture deposed President Saddam Hussein's ancestral home.

Although the chaos and looting that engulfed Baghdad after the collapse of Saddam's regime seemed to subside Saturday, a U.S. Marine was killed when two gunmen posing as landscape workers attacked a checkpoint at a medical facility, Central Command said.

Marines returned fire, killing one attacker, but the other escaped, Marine sources said.

The man who shot the Marine had a Syrian identification card, Central Command said. The Marine's name was withheld pending notification of relatives.

Some looting continued in the capital as well. Marines were working with Iraqi police to help maintain order, and a call went out for former police officers to return to duty.

Elsewhere in the city Saturday, Saddam's top science adviser surrendered to U.S. forces. German television network ZDF helped arrange Lt. Gen. Amir al-Saadi's surrender and taped it at the general's request to ensure his safety. He was No. 55 on the U.S. list of 55 most-wanted Iraqis. (Full list)

In Kirkuk, a former Iraqi air force colonel told U.S. military officials that he knew of 120 missiles within about an 18-mile [29-kilometer] radius of the city -- 24 of which carry chemical munitions, according to an army intelligence posting at the airfield's military headquarters.

Tests on a captured warhead found at an airfield near Kirkuk were inconclusive. One set showed trace amounts of a nerve agent consistent with leakage from a chemically armed weapon, military sources said. Another set of tests showed nothing. More tests were expected. (Full story)

The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier group Abraham Lincoln left the Persian Gulf on Saturday, according to Vice Adm. Timothy Keating. "We are looking at a gradual and measured reduction" of naval forces in the Persian Gulf and eastern Mediterranean, Keating said.

In Washington, Pfc. Jessica Lynch, the U.S. Army soldier rescued from Iraqi captivity in Nasiriya, returned to the United States along with 49 other injured soldiers Saturday to continue treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. (Full story)

Other developments

• In a Baghdad school, Marines found about 50 "suicide vests," loaded with explosives, that could be used by suicide bombers.

• With most of Iraq now under coalition control, financial officials from the world's seven wealthiest industrial countries, along with officials from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, met in Washington on Saturday to discuss how to rebuild Iraq -- and how to pay for it.

• Iraq's U.N. ambassador, Mohammed Aldouri, arrived Saturday in Syria from New York, according to witnesses quoted by Reuters. He did not speak to reporters at Damascus airport, but said Friday in New York that he was flying to Syria to "see what they have heard of my family."

• The U.S. House of Representatives gave final approval Saturday to a nearly $80 billion bill to fund the war in Iraq and meet other needs that are mostly related to the war or homeland security. The bill will go to President Bush, who is expected to sign it.

• U.N. relief agencies expect to return to Iraq by Monday to resume humanitarian efforts. The United Nations pulled its staff out of the country March 18. (Full story)

• Coalition forces took 59 men into custody Friday after they were found to be carrying about $600,000 and letters offering rewards for killing U.S. soldiers, Brooks said. The men were on a bus stopped at a military checkpoint in western Iraq.

• Central Command said the U.S. 4th Infantry Division crossed into Iraq from Kuwait on Saturday, about two weeks after they were deployed. (Full story) The military had hoped to transport the 4th Infantry's vehicles and troops overland in northern Iraq, but the United States failed to reach an agreement with Turkey about using its military bases to gain access to northern Iraq.

• An Iraqi who surrendered to U.S. Marines on Saturday told them he performed plastic surgery on Saddam and his relatives and knows where the family has fled, Marines told CNN. The man didn't say he knew the whereabouts of the former Iraqi leader.

-- CNN correspondents Christiane Amanpour, Thomas Nybo, David Ensor, Rula Amin, Chris Plante, Tom Mintier, Diana Muriel, Walter Rodgers, Jane Arraf, Brent Sadler, Ryan Chilcote and Art Harris contributed to this report.

EDITOR'S NOTE: CNN's policy is to not report information that puts operational security at risk.



Reuters contributed to this report.

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