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Former Hussein general arrested

  • Story Highlights
  • Abdul Khaleq al-Sabawi, al Qaeda in Iraq's leader in Mosul, arrested in Tikrit
  • Arrest was part of Mother of Two Springs operation
  • Operation focuses on militants, arms; 1,330 people detained since crackdown
  • Police commander from southern Iraqi community killed in bombing
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A top militant who once served as a general in the military under Saddam Hussein was arrested on Monday, Iraqi officials said.

Abdul Khaleq al-Sabawi, al Qaeda in Iraq's leader in the Nineveh province city of Mosul, was arrested in Tikrit, according to Iraq's Interior Ministry.

The arrest is considered part of the Mother of Two Springs offensive against al Qaeda in Iraq in Mosul because Nineveh officers carried out the raid.

Interior Ministry spokesman, Maj. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf said al-Sabawi is now being interrogated. Khalaf didn't elaborate on the operation, but said no shots were fired during the arrest.

The Mother of Two Springs operation focuses on militants in the Mosul area. Iraqi government officials call Mosul the last big urban stronghold for al Qaeda in Iraq.

The operation has netted 1,330 detainees since the start of last week's crackdown, with 240 of them being released, Khalaf said.

He said the operation has been "smooth," and no shots have been fired. Five roadside bombs were detonated against security forces without serious casualties since the offensive started, Khalaf said.

Last week, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki announced an amnesty plan in Nineveh for some militants.

Gunmen would be paid and would avoid jail if they gave their medium and heavy weapons to security forces.

The amnesty plan -- which began May 16 and will be in effect for 10 days -- applies to people who were "duped and carried weapons" against security forces, but "whose hands are not covered in blood."

Those who have committed crimes against civilians do not qualify for the amnesty.

Other developments:

  • A police commander from a southern Iraqi community was killed in a bombing on Monday, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official said. The bomb went off in the commander's office in Suq al-Shuyukh, southeast of Nasiriya. Two guards were also wounded.
  • Lawyer Jacques Verges, who has defended notorious world figures such as Carlos the Jackal has joined the legal team of former Saddam Hussein-era officials Tariq Aziz and Ali Hassan al-Majeed, Aziz's lawyer said Monday. The trial of Aziz, a former deputy prime minister, and al-Majeed, also known as Chemical Ali, and six other Hussein-era figures resumes Tuesday. They are facing charges in connection with the executions of 42 Iraqi merchants in 1992.
  • CNN's Jomana Karadsheh contributed to this report.

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