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U.S. forces capture Saddam loyalist

Detainee suspected in attacks against coalition troops

Former Saddam workers demonstrate Sunday, demanding they be paid back wages since the U.S. occupation of Iraq.
Former Saddam workers demonstrate Sunday, demanding they be paid back wages since the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- U.S. forces have captured a Saddam loyalist suspected of carrying out attacks against coalition troops at a children's hospital near Baghdad, U.S. Central Command said Sunday.

Acting on a tip from a local source, a unit from the 4th Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team conducted a raid Saturday in Ba'qubah to capture the person.

He is suspected of conducting a grenade attack at the Ba'qubah Children's Hospital in August that killed three soldiers, Central Command said. (Interactive: Coalition casualties)

The soldiers detained 10 people and confiscated a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, hand grenades, blasting caps and a detonation cord used to make improvised explosive devices, the statement said.

The detainees were being held for questioning at the Warhorse holding facility in Ba'qubah.

In the Iraqi capital on Saturday, unidentified assailants fired at least one surface-to-air missile at a C-141 U.S. military cargo plane as it took off from Baghdad International Airport, but failed to hit it, coalition provisional authorities said.

Without offering any details, coalition military spokesman Col. George Kirvo said that such incidents have happened "many times" in the past, and that the cargo plane was "never in any danger." (Full story)

The attempted strike occurred hours before U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld wrapped up his visit to Iraq, coalition officials said.

In an videotaped address broadcast on Iraqi television Saturday, Rumsfeld painted an optimistic picture for Iraqis, saying he has seen "truly extraordinary" political, economic, social changes in the country since his last visit four months ago. (Full story)

Iraqi government opposes terrorism

The president of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, said Sunday he would pursue the goals that his brother, a popular moderate Shiite cleric, had been following when he died last month in a bomb blast in the sacred city of Najaf.

Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim was killed August 27 by a car bomb outside the sacred Imam Ali mosque at the close of prayers. At least 83 people died in that blast and hundreds more were wounded.

Soon after, his brother, a member of the U.S.-appointed Iraq Governing Council, was chosen to lead the slain cleric's SCIRI.

In a statement delivered Sunday to the CNN bureau in Baghdad, al-Hakim said he believes the nation can get over his brother's assassination and pledged to walk in the footsteps of his late brother and to work on achieving his objectives no matter what sacrifices it would take.

He called his brother a balance point in Iraq and a father of all people.

He urged Iraqis to preserve their national unity and not to be drawn into achieving the objectives of the enemies -- hatred and struggle between Iraqis.

He called for tightening the grip over the enemies of Iraq, no matter what religious or ethnic group they may come from.

Meanwhile, newly appointed Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiaar Zeebari pledged to stand alongside other nations against terrorism.

"We will do our duty," Zeebari said.

He told reporters he would act with transparency in his new job, noting in his first news conference that the Foreign Ministry under the regime of Saddam Hussein was secretive and "antagonistic."

In addition to pledging openness, Zeebari told reporters a week after his appointment, that his office would "abide by civilized standards."

Bush to speak

President Bush is scheduled to address the nation Sunday night to talk about the war on terrorism, with a primary focus on developments in Iraq, according to a senior administration official.

"We want to bring the country up to speed on where we are and where we are headed," the senior official said.

The speech is scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m. EDT, will run about 15 minutes, and will be delivered from the White House residence.

The speech comes as the White House is promoting a draft U.N. Security Council resolution it said would broaden the multinational presence in Iraq and help restore Iraqi sovereignty.

Other developments

• About 200 former workers at the old Republican Palace in Baghdad -- including engineers, gardeners and cleaners -- demonstrated Sunday outside the building complaining they have not been paid in six months. The workers showed their dissatisfaction by holding up pictures of Saddam and chanting, "With our souls and blood we sacrifice ourselves for you, Saddam." This is what people used to chant during state-organized shows of support for Saddam's regime.

• Central Command said Saturday that 101st Airborne Division soldiers uncovered a large cache near the northern Iraqi town of Bajar that included a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, four AK-47 assault rifles, one 9 mm pistol, one assault rifle, 38 rocket-propelled grenade booster rockets, 500 rounds of machine-gun ammunition, 21 loaded AK-47 magazines, and 12 boxes of 12-gauge shotgun shells. Farther south, around Fallujah, soldiers of the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, targeted possible safe houses and dwellings of suspected Saddam loyalists in recent weeks, Central Command said.

CNN's Ted Barrett, Dana Bash, Rym Brahimi, John King and Ben Wedeman contributed to this report.


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