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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 May, 2003, 12:18 GMT 13:18 UK
Top Iraqi official detained
There is no current picture of the official, whose name has been variously spelled al-Adib and al-Ubaydi
No picture of Ghazi Hamud al-Adib is currently available

US-led forces in Iraq say they have detained a senior member of Saddam Hussein's Baath party.

Ghazi Hamud al-Adib was the Baath party chairman and militia commander for the Wasit governorate, which includes the city of Kut.

He is number 32 on US Central Command's list of the top 55 most wanted members of Saddam Hussein's former regime. He is depicted as the two of hearts.

It is not clear whether he surrendered or was captured by coalition forces in Iraq.

So far 19 out of the 55 most wanted have been captured by US-led forces or have surrendered, while one, former presidential adviser Ali Hasan Majid, known as "Chemical Ali", is thought to be dead.

The fate of the most senior former Iraqi leaders, including former President Saddam Hussein and his two sons, Uday and Qusay, remains unknown.

However, an Australian newspaper on Wednesday published details of an audio tape purportedly by Saddam Hussein in which he urged Iraqis to fight the US-led "invasion".

Sign of life?

The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper says its reporters in Baghdad were handed an audio tape on which a "tired-sounding" voice urges Iraqis to wage an underground war against the coalition,

BBC Middle East analyst Roger Hardy says the tape is a clear attempt to show that the former Iraqi president is alive, still in Iraq and intent on fomenting resistance.

Although it is unclear as to whether Saddam Hussein has any large forces at his disposal, he could well cause trouble, especially amongst areas where support for him is still strong.

Saddam Hussein
The whereabouts of Saddam Hussein is unknown

And the surfacing of the tape - in a manner eerily similar to those purported to be of Osama Bin Laden - will not reassure the Iraqis that their leader is gone, our correspondent adds.

Mr Adib's arrest followed the detention two days ago of Dr Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash - the only woman on the most wanted list.

Dubbed "Mrs Anthrax" by Washington and trained in the US as a microbiologist, American intelligence services consider her to be a major catch.

It is alleged she masterminded the reconstruction of Iraq's biological weapons facilities after the 1991 Gulf War conflict.

The US has also yet to officially confirm it is holding Mizban Khidir Hadi, a member of Iraq's Revolutionary Command Council and a regional commander of the Euphrates region.




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