DOHA, Qatar – Three top members of Saddam Hussein's (search) ousted regime, including one of his most trusted aides and the official in charge of developing weapons, were in custody Friday, the U.S. military said.
Abdel Tawab Mullah Huweish, director of the Office of Military Industrialization and a deputy prime minister in charge of arms procurement, also was in custody, as was Taha Muhie-eldin Marouf, a Kurd who served as one of two vice presidents in a largely ceremonial role, Central Command said.
The brief statement did not give details of where Huweish and Marouf were detained, where they were being held or whether they surrendered or were seized.
Hadi, a member of Saddam's Revolutionary Command Council and a top Baath Party leader, was No. 41 on the U.S. coalition's list of the 55 most-wanted figures and was designated the nine of hearts in the U.S. military's deck of fugitives.
He had been one of Saddam's closest advisers, especially on Shiite affairs, since the early 1980s. In March, Saddam promoted him to command one of the country's four military regions in an attempt to delegate authority and strengthen Iraq's defenses against an American invasion. Hadi was placed in charge of the area that included the Shiite Muslim holy cities of Karbala and Najaf.
He had been a minister without portfolio since June 1982 and before that was governor of Najaf. He was decorated by Saddam for his services during the 1991 Gulf War and the month-long Shiite rebellion that followed Iraq's defeat.
In May 2001, he was put in charge of the party's Farmers' Central Office.
Huweish was listed as No. 16 and the 10 of hearts on the coalition's list of the 55 most-wanted figures from Saddam's regime. He was a deputy prime minister and his ministry served as Iraq's chief weapons acquisition agency.
Marouf -- No. 42 and the nine of diamonds -- was the only Kurd in the Baath hierarchy. He was appointed as one of Iraq's two vice presidents in 1975, but the position was largely a gesture to the Kurdish minority and he had little real power.
Born into a prominent family in Kurd-dominated northern Iraq in 1924, Marouf joined the Baath Party in 1968 and held several ministerial posts. He also served as ambassador to Italy, Malta and Albania.