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Chief U.S. Weapon Hunter In Iraq Quits

Washington, 24 January 2004 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) said yesterday that David Kay has quit his post as leader of the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

After his resignation was announced, Kay said that since the end of the first Gulf War in 1991, he didn't think there had been large-scale production of chemical or biological weapons in Iraq.

The resignation was anticipated. In making the announcement yesterday, CIA Director George Tenet praised Kay for his efforts. Charles Duelfer, a former UN weapons inspector, has been appointed in Kay's place.

The U.S. team has been unable to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, a key reason given by the administration of President George W. Bush to oust President Saddam Hussein through military means.

Meanwhile, U.S. Special Forces have captured a leading figure in Ansar al-Islam, a guerrilla group operating in Iraq that the U.S. says has ties to Al-Qaeda. The U.S. military says Husam al-Yemeni was captured last week near Al-Fallujah, 50 kilometers west of Baghdad.

Also, a car bomb north of Baghdad today killed two Iraqis and wounded some 40 other people, including seven U.S. soldiers. U.S. Sergeant Major Nathan Wilson said the explosion in Samarra, 100 kilometers north of the capital, occurred as a U.S. military patrol was turning into a police station to link up with Iraqi police.