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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 April, 2003, 17:58 GMT 18:58 UK
Top Iraqi officials 'surrender'
Amer Mohammed Rasheed
US forces now hold 15 top Iraqi officials

The governor of Basra under Saddam Hussein is the latest on the United States list of most wanted men who has reportedly surrendered.

Walid Hamid Tawfiq al-Tikriti gave himself up in Baghdad, an Iraqi National Congress spokesman said.

US forces also said on Tuesday that they are holding the former oil minister, Amir Muhammed Rasheed, whose wife is bioweapons scientist Rihab Taha and widely known as "Dr Germ".

The surrender of both men brings the number of top Iraqi officials held by the US to 15.

Mr Tawfiq was apparently met by officials from the INC and American officials.

"Accompanied by his father, they just drove themselves in their vehicle from the place where they were hiding in Baghdad to the INC office," said the spokesman Zaab Sethna.

Mr Tawfiq is 44 on the US list of 55 most wanted members of Saddam Hussein's administration and represented by the eight of clubs in a pack of cards given to troops hunting them.

Weapons claims

Mr Rasheed is number 47 and listed as the six of spades.

He is alleged to have been involved in the production of secret weapons before rising to the post of oil minister in 1995.

The official reason given for his removal from that ministry in January was that he was beyond Iraq's mandatory retirement age of 63.

But reports at the time suggested his sudden departure in the run up to the US-led war could have been connected to the role of his wife.

Dr Taha was believed to have been near the top of a list of biological weapons scientists that UN inspectors wanted to interview.

She is thought to have carried out work at the top-secret biological research lab al-Hakim in the late 1980s on germs that cause botulism poisoning and anthrax infections.

Weapons inspectors who interviewed her in the mid-1990s gave her the nickname Dr Germ.

She is not on the US list of 55 most wanted Iraqis, but American officials are thought to be keen to interview her.


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