The U.S. military in Iraq says coalition forces have detained two key militants who are responsible for roadside bomb blasts in the northeastern province of Diyala.
In a statement Tuesday, the military says the two were captured during a raid on Saturday. It says one is a high-ranking terrorist who directed attacks against Sunni civilians, Iraqi forces and coalition troops. The other is accused of being a key supplier of improvised explosive devices.
In another development Tuesday, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he believes Iraqi forces can assume security responsibilities in the southern province of Basra in the next two months.
During a visit to Baghdad on Tuesday, Mr. Brown said one-thousand British troops possibly could be withdrawn by the end of the year, leaving a British contingent of about 45-hundred.
Mr. Brown spoke after meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who also said that Iraqi forces will be ready to handle security duties in Basra.
Mr. Maliki said the remaining British troops will be less involved in combat and more involved in training Iraqi troops.
With a handover of security in Basra, Britain will have completed a transfer of all four southern provinces for which it had responsibility following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
This is Mr. Brown's first visit to Iraq since becoming prime minister. Next week, in an address to the British parliament, he is expected to focus on the future of Britain's role in Iraq.
In other news today, a suicide bomber killed six people at a checkpoint in Khalis, north of Baghdad. Roadside bombs in the Iraqi capital killed at least two people.