BAGHDAD “” U.S. troops rounded up 49 suspected terrorists near Saddam Hussein’s hometown yesterday, one day after Iraq’s most violent rebel groups warned voters against participating in crucial elections for a constitutional assembly on Jan. 30.
American soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division detained the suspects during a midnight raid in Duluiyah, 45 miles north of Baghdad, dubbed “Operation Powder River,” the U.S. military said.
The operation appeared to be the latest in a series of anti-insurgency campaigns in the so-called Sunni Triangle in central Iraq. Duluiyah is near Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit….
Yesterday, a senior member of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq denied a report by the Al Jazeera satellite channel that all 700 workers for the Mosul electoral commission resigned Thursday because of threats.
“Only two people resigned and they are the head of the [electoral] office in Mosul and an accountant,” Abdel al-Lami said, adding that the two had stepped down “for personal reasons.”
During Friday prayers in a Baghdad mosque, Sheik Ahmed Abdul-Ghafour Al-Samarie of the Association of Muslim Scholars “” an influential Sunni group “” demanded that U.S. troops leave Iraq.
“We have to realize that the Allah is mightier than America and more powerful than the occupation forces,” he said. “America, which conducted crimes everywhere and supported Israel against Muslims, should take the lesson of the torrent and surge of the ocean in Asia.”