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Iraq: Suspected Weapons Designer Surrenders

Washington, 12 May 2003 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. officials say coalition forces have taken custody of the Iraqi scientist known as "Dr. Germ" on charges of creating weapons-grade anthrax. The U.S. Central Command said today that Dr. Rihab Rashid Taha turned herself in during the last 48 hours. UN weapons inspectors nicknamed Taha "Dr. Germ" because she ran the Iraqi biological-weapons facility where scientists worked with anthrax, botulinum toxin, and aflatoxin. A microbiologist, Taha holds a doctorate from the University of East Anglia in Britain.

She is not on the list of the 55 most-wanted former members of Saddam Hussein's regime. But U.S. forces have been trying to capture her and last month unsuccessfully raided her Baghdad home in the search for her and her husband.

Taha is married to Amer Rashid, who held top posts in Saddam's missile programs and was oil minister before the war. Rashid surrendered to U.S. forces last month.