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Iraq: U.S. Troops Capture Former Iraqi General

Baghdad, 22 December 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. military today said it has detained a former Iraqi general suspected of recruiting anticoalition fighters in Iraq. U.S. troops captured ex-army General Mumtaz al-Taji last night in a raid on a house in Baqouba, some 50 kilometers north of the capital Baghdad.

The capture comes as U.S. troops are cracking down on anticoalition insurgents across central Iraq.

Also today, the French AFP news agency reported that thousands of Iraqi Kurds gathered in Kirkuk, demanding that the northern oil town be included in a future autonomous Kurdish region.

Meanwhile, a member of Iraq's U.S.-installed Governing Council, Muwaffaq al-Rubay'i, today said that Shi'ite leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani will continue to call for immediate elections unless the United Nations insists such elections are impossible.