U.S. Captures Four Top Iraqis

Four more top members of Saddam Hussein (more news | Web)'s former regime have fallen from the U.S. military's 55-deck of cards as the coalition continues to round up Iraq's most wanted.

The latest captures bring to 11 the number of former top Iraqi officials in U.S. custody. Another three officials in the top 55 are believed to have been killed.

The highest-ranking capture of Wednesday's nab is Muzahim Sa'b Hassan al-Tikriti, who headed Iraq's air defenses. He was No. 10 on the U.S. list of the top 55 most wanted officials and the Queen of Diamonds in the military's deck of playing cards listing those officials.

Al-Tikriti, who was from Saddam's hometown clan that made up much of the former Iraqi inner circle, also reportedly helped train the paramilitary Fedayeen Saddam (more news | Web) forces. U.S. officials have accused Fedayeen forces of committing war crimes, including using civilians as human shields and killing Iraqis who wanted to surrender.

Pentagon officials said it's too early to determine whether any of the officials would be tried for war crimes or other violations of international law.

Gen. Zuhayr Talib Abd al-Sattar al-Naqib, the former head of the Directorate of Military Intelligence, surrendered to U.S. troops Wednesday.

The directorate monitored the loyalty of Iraq's regular army, provided security at Iraqi military facilities and collected intelligence on military forces opposing Iraq. The Pentagon official said Naqib's American equivalent would be the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Naqib was No. 21 on the 55 most wanted list and was the Seven of Hearts in the deck of cards.

Naqib was a professional soldier who rose through the ranks of the Iraqi army. The military intelligence directorate he headed was separate from the Iraqi Mukhabarat, which gathered strategic intelligence and conducted covert operations aimed at maintaining government authority.

The 56-year-old Naqib told The Los Angeles Times in an interview before his surrender that he had no apologies for his involvement in Saddam's government. He made it clear that he didn't always agree with the Iraqi leader. However, he had shared Saddam's Pan-Arabist ideas and had hope that Iraq and its military could be the force for creating an Arab nation, the Times said.

Also captured Wednesday was Muhammad Mahdi al-Salih, the former Iraqi trade minister and No. 48 on the most wanted list. He was the Six of Hearts.

Also Wednesday, allied special operations troops captured a Mukhabarat officer formerly in charge of American operations.

Jim Wilkinson, director of strategic communications for U.S. Central Command (more news | Web), identified the prisoner as Salim Said Khalaf al-Jumayli. He was not among the 55 most wanted.

Al-Jumayli is suspected of having knowledge of Iraqi intelligence activities in the United States, including names of people spying for Iraq, Wilkinson said in a statement from Doha, Qatar.

He offered no details about how the Iraqi was captured but said there was one Iraqi casualty during the operation. No Americans were hurt, he said.

Among the top regime officials believed to have been killed by coalition forces is Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as "Chemical Ali" for his use of poison gas against Iraq's Kurds.

But Knight Ridder Newspapers reported Thursday that Baghdad hospital workers saw al-Majid alive a day or two after the airstrike that purportedly killed him in the southern city of Basra.

A nurse and a doctor at Baghdad Nursing Hospital said al-Majid was at the hospital April 6 or 7 while another official and a bodyguard in his entourage were treated for injuries, according to the report. The doctor was quoted as saying al-Majid's group left the hospital two or three days before Baghdad fell to American forces.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.