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Iraq's Top Missile Expert Surrenders

Iraq's Top Missile Expert Surrenders

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DOHA, Qatar (AP) -- Iraq's former oil minister -- a general who also knew the most intimate secrets of Saddam Hussein's missile systems -- has surrendered, the U.S. Central Command said Tuesday.

Amer Mohammed Rashid turned himself in Monday and is in coalition custody, the command said.

Rashid, a former Iraqi army general known as the "Missile Man," was Saddam's point-man on weapons delivery systems and eventually rose to the prestigious post of oil minister. He was also a member of the regime's Military Industrialization Organization, the group responsible for producing all of Iraq's most lethal weapons.

Rashid was listed as Number 47 on the coalition's list of the 55 most-wanted officials from Saddam's regime and was denominated as the six of spades in the deck of cards issued to coalition forces to help identify top Iraqi officials.

The brief statement from Camp As Sayliyah in Qatar spelled the general's name as Amir Rashid Muhammad al-Ubaydi, a shift from its traditional spelling by Iraq's news agency.

Rashid retired last year at 65, Saddam's news agency reported.

He is married to Dr. Rihab Taha, a microbiologist known as "Dr. Germ" who was in charge of the secret Iraqi facility that weaponized anthrax, botulinum toxin and aflotoxin. She is also sought by the United States, but there was no word on her whereabouts.

Capturing him or his wife would be a boon for U.S. disarmament specialists, who are searching for any chemical, biological or nuclear weapons in Iraq.

Others members of Iraq's Military Industrialization Organization included Lt. Gen. Hossam Mohammed Amin, Iraq's chief liaison with U.N. weapons inspectors, and Amir al-Saadi, Saddam's senior weapons adviser, both of whom are also in custody.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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