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Suspected executioner for Saddam caught

USAID blames Iraqi criminal gang for power outages

USAID blames Iraqi criminal gang for power outages

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- U.S.-led coalition troops arrested a man authorities identified as a suspected executioner for Saddam Hussein in a raid north of Baghdad, and four Iraqis were killed in suspicious blasts, a U.S. military spokesman said Friday.

The suspect and another man, described as a former general, were seized in an overnight raid in Ba'qubah, a town about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of Baghdad. The men's identities were not released.

Coalition forces also arrested three people who carried documents allegedly linking them to the Fedayeen Saddam militia group in raids in Salman Pak.

The troops seized a large cache of weapons, including rocket-propelled grenade launchers, two dozen grenades, two antiaircraft missiles and thousands of machine gun bullets.

In Saddam's ancestral homeland of Tikrit, two Iraqis were killed when a bomb exploded at a traffic circle. In the northeastern city of Kirkuk, two Iraqis were killed in a blast. Authorities said they suspect the Iraqis might have been trying to place a bomb beside a road.

Putin: U.N. compromise likely

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that his country isn't satisfied with the U.N. draft resolution on Iraq from the United States but added that he is heartened by the U.S. desire "to find a compromise.

"I think that if we work in this basis, then it's quite likely we will find a compromise," Putin said at the World Economic Forum meeting in Moscow.

The U.S. proposal bolsters the U.N. role in the rebuilding of Iraq and calls for the development of a timetable leading to Iraqi sovereignty.

Putin said the efforts at the U.N. Security Council should give the international community an opportunity to participate "in the rebirth of Iraq."

He said he believes Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council, could have "some success" in postwar reconstruction.

Two other permanent council members, France and China, said the new resolution is inadequate. Germany, which holds a rotating council seat, said the resolution is a step forward but still needs work.

John Negroponte, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Thursday that he is encouraged by an "emerging convergence" over the measure.

Briefings on weapons hunt

The CIA's lead weapons inspector told congressional intelligence committees Thursday that his team has not yet found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq but has discovered evidence that Saddam's regime planned to manufacture them. (Full story)

After the closed-door meetings, David Kay told reporters that his Iraq Survey Group has found missiles and other equipment not declared to U.N. weapons inspectors when they returned last year to Iraq.

"This includes substantial equipment and activity in the chemical and biological area, a much more substantial activity in the missile area," Kay said. "The Iraqis were engaged in a very full-scale program that would have extended their delivery systems out beyond 1,000 kilometers (620 miles)."

Criminal gang blamed for power problems

An Iraqi "criminal gang" is responsible for breakdowns in electrical power supplies in Iraq, the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development said Friday.

Andrew Natsios, administrator for USAID, said a group called the Grumsha has been stealing copper from electric wires to sell on the black market, which has caused 650 electric transmission lines to fail in Iraq during the past several months, damaging "the stability of the [electrical] system."

"The Iraqis told me about it, the British officers told me about it, the Iraqis in the streets said, 'Oh, the Grumsha are at it again,'" he said.

"Apparently they are sort of a criminal mob that has been around for a long time. They make their living by stealing stuff. They have no interest in politics, they don't shoot at our soldiers or anything."

Other developments

• Bush administration sources said Friday there could be as many as 200 foreign fighters in far western Iraq using the remote "no-man's land" as a base of operations from which to train and launch attacks on US forces. Aerial reconnaissance has provided intelligence on the activities of the fighters, who are believed to include individuals from Syria, the sources said.

• The U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority and the Iraqi Interior Ministry said Friday that they will be opening an Iraqi police training facility in Jordan and hope to train 35,000 new police officers in the neighboring Arab country within two years. The cadets will be Iraqis who have not previously served on the police force. The first 500 cadets will begin their training at the end of November. The trainees will undergo an eight-week course.

• An Iraqi judge ordered the confiscation of nearly 2,300 metric tons of Iraqi oil and two tankers suspected of trying to smuggle the material out of the country, the Coalition Provisional Authority said Friday. A coalition naval task force seized the two vessels, the Saudi Gizan and the Manara II, in August in the Persian Gulf. The move allows the Iraqi Finance Ministry to dispose of the vessels and oil, and any proceeds would go to the Central Bank of Iraq.

CNN's David Ensor, Michael Holmes, Barbara Starr and Harris Whitbeck contributed to this report.


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