Iraqi security forces captured Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan, Saddam Hussein's half brother and former adviser who was suspected of financing insurgents after US troops ousted the former dictator, the government said on Sunday.
In a statement, the prime minister's office said the arrest "shows the determination of the Iraqi Government to chase and detain all criminals who carried out massacres and whose hands are stained with the blood of the Iraqi people, then bring them to justice to face the right punishment."
Al-Hassan is No 36 on the list of 55 most-wanted Iraqis released by US authorities after troops invaded Iraq in March 2003, and one of only 12 remaining at large. He is also suspected of financing insurgents in the post-Saddam era, and Washington had put a US$1 million bounty on his head.
The government statement said al-Hassan had "killed and tortured Iraqi people." It also said he had "participated effectively in planning, supervising, and carrying out many terrorist acts in Iraq."
Officials in interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's office, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed al-Hassan's capture but gave no details on where it took place or when.
Captain Ahmed Ismael, an intelligence officer in the Interior Ministry, said Sabawi was detained early on Sunday.
Under Saddam, al-Hassan served as head of the feared General Security Directorate, which was responsible for internal security, especially cracking down on political parties that opposed Saddam. Al-Hassan had been accused of torturing and killing political opponents.
He later became a presidential adviser, the last post he held in the former regime.
Besides being on the list of the 55 most wanted Iraqis, al-Hassan is among the 29 most-wanted supporters of insurgent groups in Iraq, according to US Central Command.
In an unrelated development, the family of an anchorwoman for a US-funded state television station - a mother of four who was repeatedly shot in the head - found her body dumped on a street in the northern city of Mosul.
The body of Raiedah Mohammed Wageh Wazan, the 35-year-old news presenter for the US-funded Nineveh TV, was found dumped along a Mosul street, six days after she was kidnapped by masked gunmen, according to her husband, who said she had been shot four times in the head.
"This is a criminal act. She was an innocent woman who did not hurt anybody in all her life. I asked her several times to quit for the sake of her safety, but she refused," said Salim Saad-Allah, the husband.
The mother of three boys and a girl had been threatened with death several times by insurgents who demanded she quit her job, Saad-Allah said.
Also on Sunday, a bomb exploded near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, killing eight people, the US military said.
An explosion detonated by insurgents in Hamam Al Alil killed eight and injured at least another two Iraqi citizens. Several of those killed were Iraqi security guards, police said.
(China Daily February 28, 2005)