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Iraq: Ex-Oil Minister Detained; U.S. To Deploy Police Troops

Al-Sayliyah Camp, Qatar; 29 April 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. military says it has detained a former Iraqi oil minister who also served as Saddam Hussein's point man on weapons delivery systems. The U.S. Central Command in Qatar said Amer Rashid Muhammad al-Ubaydi surrendered yesterday and was in custody. He is number 47 on the U.S. list of the 55 most wanted members of Hussein's government.

Rashid is married to Rihab Taha, a microbiologist known as "Dr. Germ," who was in charge of Iraq's secret facility which weaponized anthrax, botulinum toxin, and aflotoxin. She has disappeared.

In Baghdad yesterday, hundreds of prominent Iraqis agreed to meet in four weeks for a national conference aimed at setting the rules for forming an interim government in the post-Hussein period.

U.S. Major General Glenn Webster, deputy commander of forces in Iraq, today said before meeting with more than 100 Baghdad city officials that the military will deploy thousands of additional military police to help stop the looting and lawlessness.

Elsewhere, the U.S. army has begun oil production in Iraq's northern field of Kirkuk and restarted operations at the Al-Basrah refinery in the south.