BAGHDAD, Iraq – Iraqi guerrillas blew up an oil pipeline and fired on gasoline storage tanks, as U.S. troops searched for rebels and weapons Sunday in strongholds of captured dictator Saddam Hussein (search).
American soldiers raided homes shortly after midnight in Fallujah (search), a flashpoint in the so-called Sunni Triangle where resistance to the U.S.-led occupation has been fiercest. Iraqi journalists reported similar raids in other areas where support for Saddam has been strong, including Samarra, 75 miles north of Baghdad, and Rawah, near the western border with Syria (search).
The U.S. military said Saturday night that it had detained 111 people in 48 hours in Samarra, including 15 suspected of directing attacks on Americans. The coalition has maintained intensive searches for Saddam loyalists since the ousted dictator was captured Dec. 13.
Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Fox News Sunday TV program that several hundred Saddam loyalists had been rounded up in recent raids, including "some of the leadership of this insurgency, absolutely, some of the cell leaders."
Myers tied the arrests to Saddam's capture, saying: "Some of the information we gleaned when we picked up Saddam Hussein led to a better understanding of the structure of the resistance from the former regime elements."
Rebels fired rocket-propelled grenades at storage tanks in southern Baghdad on Saturday, sparking fires that burned for hours and consumed about 2.6 million gallons of gasoline, Oil Ministry spokesman Issam Jihad said. Iraqi police were investigating, he said.
Also Saturday, a pipeline exploded in the al-Mashahda area, 15 miles north of Baghdad, in what Jihad said also was an act of sabotage — the latest in a series of attacks on Iraq's oil infrastructure, apparently aimed at undermining the coalition.
On Sunday morning, guerrillas fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a U.S. military convoy at a police recruitment center in Mosul, 250 miles north of Baghdad. The grenade hit a passing civilian vehicle, seriously wounding the Iraqi driver, according to an Associated Press Television News cameraman at the scene.
Some of the U.S. soldiers in the three-truck convoy were outside their vehicles when the attack happened but were unhurt, APTN reported.
Meanwhile, the president of the U.S.-appointed Governing Council, Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim, was in neighboring Syria this weekend for talks with President Bashar Assad.
And in Baghdad, the minister of higher education said tens of thousands of university professors might go on strike at the end of the year to demand higher wages.
Many professors earn about $180, a monthly wage set with the guidance of the U.S.-led coalition, Zayad Abdul-Razzaq Aswad said. He said professors should earn about $1000 a month, roughly what they make in neighboring Jordan.
"Universities are bound to strike as a result of the low salaries of the teaching staff," Aswad said.