KIRKUK, Iraq, Nov 20 (AFP) – US forces have arrested Arshad Yassin, a brother-in-law of Saddam Hussein who was also his personal helicopter pilot and a senior figure in his close protection force until the early 1990s, a high ranking Iraqi police officer said Thursday.
Yassin, who held the rank of airforce lieutenant general, and another officer of the protection force of the former president, Major Radman Ali Al-Huraimus were arrested Wednesday, in a village located 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of the northern oil city of Kirkuk, the officer said.
He said a US force was airlifted to the village and stormed the house where the two were hiding, disguised as peasants.
He said US troops acted on a tip-off because they went straight to the house. The US army did not confirm the arrests.
Yassin, in his fifties, is married to Samira Hussein, one of Saddam’s two sisters. He was considered from the 1980s as the seniormost figure of the protection service around the now toppled president.
In recent days, US commanders have taken off the gloves in their battle with the resistance, resorting to air strikes and heavy artillery against the safe houses and arms caches of insurgents.
Massive search operations for Saddam loyalists and Islamic militants are also being carried out across the restive northern and central regions of the country where most attacks against the coalition have been reported.