US forces have captured a second half-brother of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
An American military spokesman said Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti was seized by US special forces and Marines Wednesday night. He was identified as a key advisor to Saddam, and is a former head of Iraq's intelligence service.
Brigadier General Vincent Brooks told reporters at Central Command headquarters today (Thursday) that Mr. al-Tikriti had what he called "extensive knowledge of the regime's inner working." He was on the US list of most-wanted members of the regime, and was the second of Saddam's three half-brothers to be captured by coalition forces.
US military officials say the fighting in Iraq has abated, but pockets of resistance remain. General Brooks said a US Army unit fought a brief battle with Saddam Hussein loyalists Wednesday night near the Taji airfield north of Baghdad. He said several Iraqi fighters were killed, more than 100 taken prisoner and some tanks destroyed.
In the Iraqi capital Baghdad, meanwhile, US Marines are patrolling the streets along with several hundred Iraqi policemen in an attempt to restore security and stop looting.
The Associated Press reports US Army soldiers in Baghdad stopped the latest in a series of attempts to loot banks today (Thursday). A crowd had gathered outside the bank after thieves apparently blew a hole in the vault and began stealing brand-new American currency they found inside. The U-S soldiers called in reinforcements to restore order, and their commander ordered that the currency be taken to a U-S base for safe-keeping.
The International Committee of the Red Cross reports what it calls a "certain degree of calm" has returned to the center of Baghdad, although some looting continues to present a problem for humanitarian aid efforts. The Red Cross said it had worked with local technicians to restore water for the area of Baghdad that formerly was known as Saddam City.
A US Marine commander said restoring power to Baghdad was a priority, and some electricity should be turned on in the city by Friday. Power went out in the capital during US bombing raids while coalition ground troops approached the city, but the cause of the outage has not been determined.
The improved security situation in the country allowed aid agencies to open a third overland route for humanitarian supplies Thursday. Trucks carrying wheat flour entered Iraq from Jordan and were headed for Baghdad. Relief supplies are also entering Iraq from Kuwait in the south and Turkey in the north.