U.S., Iraqis Nab 65 Suspected Militants

Hundreds of U.S. and Iraqi forces launched their biggest Baghdad raid in recent weeks, moving on foot Monday through a central neighborhood and rounding up dozens of suspected insurgents, the military said.

About 500 members of Iraq's police and army and a "couple hundred" American soldiers swept through buildings in the Rashid neighborhood, detaining 65 suspected militants, said Lt. Col. Clifford Kent of the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division.

One Iraqi soldier was wounded but no American casualties were reported in the largest U.S.-Iraqi joint raid in the capital since the Fort Stewart, Ga.-based division assumed responsibility for the city in February, Kent said. One suspected insurgent also was being treated for wounds, the military said in a statement.

At the Camp Gannon military base in western Iraq, insurgents targeted the gates with three suicide car bombs Monday, injuring three U.S. Marines, the military said. The drivers were stopped short of the camp by forces manning checkpoints, the military said.

At least three civilians also were injured, said Ammar Fuad, a doctor at the hospital where they were taken.

The terrorist group Al Qaeda in Iraq (search), led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (search), claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on an Islamic Web site. The statement's authenticity could not be verified.

A group claiming to have kidnapped a Pakistani Embassy official over the weekend demanded money for his release, a senior Pakistani government official said Monday.

Malik Mohammed Javed, a deputy counselor at the Pakistani mission in Baghdad, went missing late Saturday after leaving home for prayers at a nearby mosque.

The previously unknown Omar bin Khattab group claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, and Javed called the embassy to say his abductors had not harmed him, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said.

"They have made contact. They are asking for money," a Pakistani official said on condition of anonymity.

He would not specify the amount or say how the abductors made contact.

Ministry spokesman Jalil Abbas Jilani said he had no information about the group. There have been no reports of a group by that name existing in Iraq.

Javed's son appealed to his father's kidnappers to release him.

"Everyone is crying here," Bilal Malik, 20, told The Associated Press by telephone Sunday. "My father has done nothing wrong. He was only going to offer his prayers. They are Muslims. They should release our father who is also a Muslim."

The kidnapping comes nine months after insurgents abducted and killed two Pakistanis working for a Kuwaiti company in Iraq. Their abductors had demanded that Pakistan promise not to send any troops to Iraq. Pakistan, a key U.S. ally in the war against terrorism, has refused to deploy peacekeepers and has urged its citizens to avoid coming here.

Possibly anticipating a demand for Islamabad to close its embassy in Baghdad, Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said, "We will neither withdraw our embassy staff nor close the mission."

The 275 members of the National Assembly reconvened Monday to consider parliamentary rules.

Hussein al-Sadr, a lawmaker from the coalition of outgoing Prime Minister Ayad Allawi (search), said the group would participate in the government, as long as its involvement was a "real and effective one and not a nominal one."

The coalition was demanding four ministerial posts or else "we will lead the opposition in the parliament," he said.

Ali al-Dabagh, a lawmaker from the Shiite-led United Iraq Alliance (search), said he believed those demands were too steep.

In Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, demonstrators chanted anti-American slogans, continuing three days of protests against U.S. forces. Tens of thousands of people gathered Saturday in Baghdad calling for coalition forces to leave, and more demonstrations were held Sunday.

A Defense Ministry official said Monday that Iraqi security forces had arrested a person who claimed to have kidnapped two French journalists last year.

Iraqi army soldiers detained Amer Hussein Sheikhan in the Mahmoudiya area on April 4, the official said on condition of anonymity.

Journalists Christian Chesnot (search) and Georges Malbrunot (search) were released in December after four months in captivity.

The Iraqi government announced Sunday that security forces had arrested Ibrahim Sabaawi, the son of Saddam Hussein's half brother, near Baghdad. The statement said Sabaawi was close to the former regime.

"Until his arrest, he had been supporting terrorists and providing them with finances," it said.

Also, Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed to have kidnapped and killed Najaf police Brig. Gen. Bassem Mohammed Kadhim al-Jazaari while he was visiting Baghdad.

"After his confessions, God's verdict was carried out against him," said the statement, which could not be independently verified.

Iraqi Interior Ministry official Capt. Ahmed Isma'el said al-Jazaari was kidnapped in western Baghdad late Saturday, along with his nephew, but he had no other details.