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U.S. holding Iraqi lawmaker after raid on suspected insurgents

  • Story Highlights
  • U.S. holding Iraqi lawmaker swept up in a raid on suspected terrorists
  • Two U.S. troops killed by bomb blast in southeastern Baghdad
  • U.S. military says 25 insurgents killed in firefight; Iraqi official says civilians died
  • Cholera spreading across country, World Health Organization says
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A Sunni member of Iraq's parliament is in custody after his arrest during a U.S.-Iraqi military raid on a suspected al Qaeda in Iraq gathering, U.S. military and Iraqi officials said Friday.

A U.S. soldier patrols Thursday in Baquba, the capital of Diyala province northeast of Baghdad.

The military detained the lawmaker, Nayyes Jassem Mohammed, on Saturday in Salaheddin province, Iraqi provincial officials said.

U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner offered few details about how the parliament member was picked up.

"We conducted an operation based on intelligence about a meeting of insurgent members and, in the process of that operation, this individual was present there," Bergner said.

In a statement released later Friday, the U.S. military said Iraqi and U.S. forces detained "23 suspected al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists" during a raid on al Qaeda in Iraq leadership who had gathered to elect a new emir because the previous one had been killed the day before in a firefight.

Ahmed al-Jebouri, security aide to the Salaheddin governor, told CNN the parliament member was attending a wake for a local emir of Hawija and member of al Qaeda in Iraq who was killed by the U.S. military.

Mohammed is a member of the Iraqi Accordance Front, part of the largest Sunni bloc in parliament.

After the raid, the Iraqi and U.S. forces were attacked with three roadside bombs and small arms fire from insurgents who were attempting to flee the area, the military's statement said.

Two insurgents were detained. Several weapons, office equipment, identification cards and other items were confiscated during the operation, the military said.

Also Friday, the U.S. military said 25 insurgents were killed in an airstrike on a village near Baquba, but Iraqi authorities said civilians, including women and children, were among those killed.

The military said the airstrike followed a heavy firefight with insurgents using assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.

An Iraqi Interior Ministry official said Friday that the strike on a Shiite village called Jizan Imam, 18 miles (30 kilometers) west of Baquba, killed 20 and wounded 27. Eight others were reported missing. Baquba is about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of Baghdad.

The U.S. statement said the operation targeted a commander suspected of links to the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force. The suspect was "involved in the movement of various weapons from Iran to Baghdad."

The situation quickly escalated after a group of men fired on the troops, the military said.

"Enemy fire intensified and supporting aircraft were called in an attempt to suppress the threat," the military said. Two buildings were destroyed.

The coalition said no troops were injured or killed.

Meanwhile, the military said U.S.-led coalition troops killed 12 militants in raids Friday in Baghdad, Kirkuk, and near Yusufiya.

Seven were killed in a Baghdad raid targeting an associate of the Sunni insurgent group's senior leadership, the military said. One person also was detained.

Troops near Yusufiya, southwest of Baghdad, killed four militants, including an al Qaeda in Iraq militant "believed to be a foreign terrorist facilitator in the southern belt." This militant was thought to have close ties to Abu Usama al-Tunisi, an al Qaeda in Iraq leader who was killed during a September 25 operation.

Another militant was killed in Kirkuk during a raid targeting "an alleged al Qaeda in Iraq foreign terrorist facilitator" operating in Tameem province. One person was detained.

Two militants were arrested in other operations in Baghdad and Samarra.

The U.S. military also said Friday that Iraqi national police forces recently killed a Yemeni-born militant in a volatile region southeast of Baghdad.

The military identified the fighter as Abu Muhammad Al-Yameni, killed on September 27 near Salman Pak.

Other developments

  • A bomb blast killed two U.S. soldiers and wounded two others Friday in southeastern Baghdad, the U.S. military said. The number of U.S. military deaths in the Iraq war stands at 3,814, including seven civilian employees of the Defense Department.
  • A senior member of an anti-al Qaeda Sunni alliance in northern Iraq has died of wounds Thursday after a roadside bomb went off, a government official said. The bomb targeted Muawiya Jebara, a senior member of the Salaheddin Awakening Council. It also killed three of his guards outside Samarra in Salaheddin province, north of Baghdad.
  • The World Health Organization said cholera has reached half of Iraq's 18 provinces since first being detected in the north two months ago. WHO said 14 people have died from cholera, and 3,315 cases have been confirmed.
  • The U.S. military on Friday said it was investigating the deaths of three Iraqi civilians whom coalition troops shot the day before near a checkpoint in Abu Lukah, a village in Babil province.
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    CNN's Saad Abedine, Jim Clancy and Jomana Karadsheh contributed to this report.

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