U.S. troops on Monday detained a prominent member of an influential Sunni Muslim (search) group believed to have links to insurgents, officials of the group said.

Dr. Muthanna Harith al-Dhari, information director for The Association of Muslim Scholars (search), was detained along with two of his guards, said Hassan Jumaa, an official in the group's information office.

Al-Dhari was returning home when he was detained by U.S. troops just after midnight.

"Eight Humvees were waiting for him," Jumaa said, adding that troops searched al-Dhari's vehicle and another car escorting him for over two hours before taking him and away.

It was not clear why al-Dhari was detained and the U.S. military had no immediate comment.

The association was founded last year to promote the interests of Iraq's Sunni minority. Al-Dhari is the son of the group's secretary-general, Sheik Harith al-Dhari.