- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 17, 2004

BAGHDAD — The U.S. military yesterday issued for the first time a wanted list of dozens of key figures suspected of leading the insurgency in Iraq, including a $1 million reward for a senior Ba’ath Party figure believed to be in charge of guerrilla cells.

In Tikrit, three Iraqis, including a 10-year-old, were killed yesterday when a 120 mm mortar fired by U.S. soldiers landed on their house. The U.S. base at Tikrit has been fired upon by insurgents over the past few nights, the military said.

The list of 32 wanted persons included suspected cell leaders, former members of Saddam Hussein’s military and regional Ba’ath leaders thought to be helping the insurgency, said Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy operations chief.

At the top of the list, with a $1 million reward, is Mohammed Yunis al-Ahmad, a former Ba’ath Party official. Rewards between $50,000 and $200,000 were offered for the others.

“[Al-Ahmad] is one of the former [regimes] personnel we suspect of significant anticoalition activities,” Gen. Kimmitt said. “We have reason to believe he has been running cells in certain parts of this country.”

The military has been compiling the list as it built up a better understanding of the insurgency, Gen. Kimmitt said. “Some names keep popping up.”

Soon after Saddam’s ouster in April, the military published a list of 55 most-wanted members of his regime. All but 10 of them have been captured or killed. Not all were believed to have played major roles in the insurgency.

Until now, U.S. officials have not made public a list of suspected leaders of the insurgency that erupted after the regime’s collapse and has killed more American soldiers than did the invasion that toppled Saddam. The violence, blamed on Saddam loyalists and foreign militants, has persisted despite the Iraqi leader’s capture in December.

Three U.S. soldiers were killed and six wounded by roadside bombs in Baghdad and two cities to the north on Monday, the military announced.

Four U.S. soldiers were wounded and one insurgent was killed Monday in a firefight that ended in the arrest of a suspected cell leader and eight others, the military said. The cell leader was not on the list released yesterday.

The latest U.S. deaths brought to 541 the number of American service members killed since the war began March 20.

The military’s new most-wanted list set new rankings of rewards for the fugitives. A $200,000 reward was set for 11 former regional military and political leaders from Saddam’s regime suspected of “associating” or “providing support” to insurgent cells, Gen. Kimmitt said.

Among the 11 was Lt. Gen. Hakam Hassan Ali al-Tikriti, a former commander of the military’s helicopter forces and an adviser to the Iraqi General Staff during the U.S. invasion.

Rewards of $50,000 were offered for 20 “individual operatives in local terrorist cells,” Gen. Kimmitt said.

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