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Iraq's 'Dr. Germ,' military chief in custody

New U.S. administrator arrives in Baghdad

Rihab Taha al-Azawi al-Tikriti, left, is No. 197 on the U.S. list of most-wanted Iraqis, and Ibrahim Ahmad al Sattar Muhammad al-Tikriti is No. 11.
Rihab Taha al-Azawi al-Tikriti, left, is No. 197 on the U.S. list of most-wanted Iraqis, and Ibrahim Ahmad al Sattar Muhammad al-Tikriti is No. 11.

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(CNN) -- The Iraqi woman whom Central Command labels "Dr. Germ" is in custody, as is the former head of Iraq's armed forces, U.S. officials said Monday.

Rihab Taha al-Azawi al-Tikriti, a British-educated Iraqi, was No. 197 on Central Command's most-wanted list.

Taha could prove instrumental in leading U.S. and British forces to any biological, chemical and nuclear weapons the former regime possessed, officials said.

She is married to Iraq's former oil minister, Amir Rashid Muhammad al-Ubaydi, an adviser to ex-President Saddam Hussein.

Al-Ubaydi was No. 47 on the list and the six of spades in the deck of cards issued to U.S. troops to help identify fugitive Iraqi leaders. He surrendered to coalition forces April 28.

U.S. officials also said the former head of Iraq's armed forces is in U.S. custody.

Ibrahim Ahmad al Sattar Muhammad al-Tikriti served as Iraqi armed forces chief of staff under Saddam's regime, according to U.S. officials.

Muhammad is No. 11 on the U.S. list of 55 most-wanted Iraqis and the jack of spades in the U.S. card deck.

It was not clear whether either Muhammad or Taha surrendered or was captured.

Coalition forces say they have 21 of the 55 most wanted in custody. Three others are suspected to be dead.

Straw: Iraqi recovery results not as good as hoped

The news of the capture of the two Iraqis came as former U.S. diplomat L. Paul Bremer III arrived in Baghdad on Monday to take over as chief administrator of the U.S.-led reconstruction effort, a post held by retired Army Lt. Gen. Jay Garner.

Bremer acknowledged that a "difficult task" lies ahead. "We are trying to rebuild a country that has been under a despot for 30 years," he said.

Garner has done an "outstanding job," Bremer added. "We intend to have an effective, efficient and well-organized handover."

Bush administration officials said the switch had been planned "all along." As security improved, the coalition wanted to put a diplomat, rather than a soldier, into the top spot, officials said.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw gave a different impression of Iraq's security.

Violence and lawlessness are still rampant in much of the country, Straw told the British House of Commons on Monday, and though conditions are improving in the south, "in other areas, including Baghdad, the situation is still unsatisfactory."

The U.S.-led Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, which the civil administrator oversees, has produced results that are "not as good as we would have hoped," Straw said. "I therefore welcome the appointment of [Bremer]. ... He will bring fresh impetus to ORHA's efforts."

A senior ORHA official also acknowledged that the security situation in Baghdad is lacking, adding that the scale of looting and violence had been "unpredicted by anyone."

ORHA officials outlined their plans Monday to return life to some semblance of normalcy for Iraqis, particularly in Baghdad.

The immediate goal is to put police back on the streets of Baghdad and to secure and staff the city's 60 police stations, most of which were looted in the aftermath of the U.S.-led war, a senior official said.

To help guide that effort, a security assessment team of 40 people, including a number of British police experts, will arrive in Baghdad during the week, he said.

Meanwhile, Barbara Bodine, U.S. coordinator for central Iraq in charge of Baghdad, was to have left her position Sunday after just three weeks on the job, a senior U.S. official said.

Bodine, who effectively was the interim mayor of Baghdad, will take a job at the State Department in Washington, the official said. (Full story)

Other developments

• Coalition officials expressed concern about the tremendous reception shown for Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim, head of an Iraqi Shiite Muslim group, who returned to Iraq over the weekend after 23 years in exile. The 64-year-old head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq -- the dominant Shiite organization -- arrived in Basra on Saturday from Iran, where his group is based. Hakim was greeted by tens of thousands of supporters, and the celebrations continued Monday as he visited his birthplace, the holy city of Najaf.

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


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