- The Washington Times - Monday, February 9, 2004

From combined dispatches

BAGHDAD — Two U.S. soldiers were killed yesterday while disposing of explosives in northern Iraq, and the military announced the surrender of a former Ba’ath Party leader.

The explosion outside of Sinjar near the city of Mosul that killed the two soldiers and injured six appeared to have been an accident and not the result of hostile fire, said Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt.

U.S. and Iraqi forces also deactivated several rockets that were on a road near Diyala University outside Baqouba and were ready to be fired toward the city, a U.S. Army captain told the Associated Press. Baqouba is 35 miles north of Baghdad and part of the so-called Sunni Triangle, the stronghold of insurgents from the former regime of Saddam Hussein.

Meanwhile, defense officials in Washington said a former Ba’ath Party chairman wanted by the coalition forces surrendered during the weekend.

Muhsin Khadr al-Khafaji, 48th on the U.S. list of 55 most-wanted Iraqis, turned himself in to Iraqis, who then gave him to U.S. forces on Saturday, U.S. officials told Agence France-Presse.

Al-Khafaji was the Ba’ath Party chairman for Qadisiyah and was the three of diamonds in the deck of cards identifying the most-wanted Iraqis.

In other developments, troops from the 4th Infantry Division have captured 11 Iraqis suspected of involvement in anticoalition activities, the military said.

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