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Iraq Transition

U.S. calls medics to Iraq police detention center

Scores of detainees found in poor health, officials say

Iraqis stand Monday near the wreckage of a bus destroyed by a roadside bomb in Ramadi.


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• Interactive: Sectarian divide



BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The U.S. Army discovered scores of detainees in poor health at a building run by the Iraqi Interior Ministry during a search for a missing 15-year-old boy, a U.S. general said Monday.

Brig. Gen. Karl Horst of the 3rd Infantry Division said the prisoners were found Sunday "in need of medical care -- so I brought medics in."

Iraqi police went further, telling CNN that many detainees in the Baghdad building "had obviously endured torture" and were "detained in poor health conditions."

The Iraqi Interior Ministry could not be reached for response.

Horst would not say whether the military found signs of torture among the approximately 175 detainees, who were taken into U.S. custody.

"I brought in a legal team to sort through their files," Horst said by phone from the building, one day after the mission took place.

On Sunday afternoon, U.S. soldiers entered the building, looking for a teenager who had been missing since September 15, Horst said. The boy was not there.

Iraqi police said the U.S. military "raided" the building, arriving in about 20 vehicles. The building was run by police commandos who work for the Interior Ministry, police said.

Horst denied there was a raid. He said U.S. and Iraqis were working on a joint investigation into the detainees and into the whereabouts of the boy.

Asked what the original purpose of the facility was, Horst replied, "I don't know -- that's part of the ongoing investigation."

U.S. military: 45 insurgents killed

American and Iraqi troops killed 45 suspected insurgents Monday as Operation Steel Curtain entered a third town near the Syrian border, the U.S. military said.

The U.S. Marines and Iraqi soldiers fought their way into Ubeydi at dawn Monday, beginning the 10th day of the operation by facing "significant resistance," according to a military news release.

Col. Stephen Davis said at least 25 insurgents also were captured.

"This is a fight all the way through the city," Davis said. "This area is well-bunkered, especially up the southwest portion, but it's what we expected."

U.S. and Iraqi forces faced machine-gun, small-arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire, Davis said. His troops also found three buildings wired with explosives, along with roadside and car bombs. Two weapons caches were destroyed with 500-pound bombs, he said.

All military-aged males are being rounded up and questioned, he said.

Operation Steel Curtain was launched in Husayba on November 5 and continued into parts of the nearby city of Karabila. The offensive is aimed at rooting out the insurgency in the area.

Husayba had become a command and control center for insurgents and foreign fighters, the military has said.

U.S. and Iraqi forces have established camps near Husayba and are patrolling the area.

Two killed near Green Zone

A roadside bomb killed two contractors and severely injured two others near a checkpoint in Baghdad's Green Zone, the U.S. Embassy said Monday.

A fifth employee of Dyncorps, a U.S.-based security company, was lightly wounded.

The Green Zone is a heavily fortified, four-square-mile section of the Iraqi capital housing several embassies.

U.S. doubts death of Hussein aide

The U.S. military on Sunday discounted reports that a top Iraqi fugitive has died, saying the search for Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri remains active.

Ibrahim is the highest-ranking lieutenant of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to remain at large more than two years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

The Arabic-language news network Al-Arabiya reported his death Friday, quoting what it said was a statement from the Baath Party that once ruled Iraq.

"Coalition officials question the validity of the Baath Party claim, and a reward of up to $10 million remains for information leading to al-Douri's capture or his grave site," the U.S. command in Baghdad said in a written statement.

The military said a Web site that claims to be associated with the Baath Party contradicted Friday's report and said Ibrahim was alive.

Ibrahim was the vice chairman of Iraq's ruling council and No. 6 on the list of most-wanted members of Hussein's ousted government. He has long been reported to be in poor health, but previous reports of his death or capture have proven to be unfounded.

The U.S. military said he has helped finance the insurgency but that his influence has waned while he has been in hiding. (Watch: Who is Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri? -- 1:30)

Other developments

  • Jordan needs to crack down on money-laundering and insurgent traffic into Iraq after last week's hotel bombings in Amman, Deputy Iraqi Prime Minister Ahmed Chalabi said Sunday. Jordanian authorities say the attacks were carried out by four Iraqis and orchestrated by the group al Qaeda in Iraq, led by Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Chalabi is a former exile who faces bank-fraud charges in Jordan.
  • President Bush's national security adviser defended the administration Sunday against accusations that it misled the nation about the need for war with Iraq. (Full story)
  • CNN's Arwa Damon, Enes Dulami and Cal Perry contributed to this report.

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