Baghdad, June 7 (Reuters): US troops were ambushed near Saddam Hussein’s hometown today, as UN nuclear experts began work to assess looting at Iraq’s main nuclear facility.
The US military said a soldier died and four were wounded when gunmen fired small arms and a rocket-propelled grenade at them near Tikrit, 175 km north of Baghdad.
The US-led administration now ruling Iraq said it had detained a former deputy police commander last night for trying to create a Baathist cell within the police force.
UN experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) started a limited mission to see how much material is missing from a looted storage complex at Tuwaitha, south of Baghdad.
The US is expanding its own team to hunt for Saddam’s alleged arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and wants to exclude the IAEA and other UN arms inspectors.
The failure of the US and Britain to find banned weapons since their March 20 invasion has fuelled a furore over whether they misled the world by arguing that Iraq posed a deadly threat to international security.
As the two occupying powers intensified talks on Iraq’s political future, an Iranian-backed Shia Muslim group said it would not join a proposed interim political council unless it was elected, not picked by Paul Bremer, the US administrator. Bremer, however, said he would press ahead with plans to set up the council next month.