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900 Suspected Militants Detained

Iraqi security temporarily detain two people at a check point in Baghdad Tuesday, May 31, 2005 as a part of Operation Lightning, a large-scale anti-insurgent campaign that entered its third day Tuesday. The operation, which will see more than 40,000 Iraqi security forces deployed to the capital's streets, aims at ridding Baghdad of militants and, in particular, suicide car bombers.(AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
AP
The Iraqi government announced Monday it detained nearly 900 suspected militants and set up more than 800 checkpoints in a two-week sweep that appears to have somewhat blunted attacks in the capital.

Also, a list obtained Monday shows Saddam Hussein will be charged with a range of war crimes when he goes on trial, probably within the next two months. Iraqi officials believe offensives like Operation Lightning, along with the deposed dictator's trial, could help deflate the insurgency being waged by Saddam loyalists and Islamic extremists.

More than 840 people have died in the violence since the government was announced April 28, but the daily death toll has fallen slightly in the past three days.

Iraq's first freely elected government in more than 50 years replaced Saddam's regime, which had long suppressed Shiite and Kurdish communities in favor of minority Sunni Arabs.

The Sunni fall from power has been considered a major cause of the violence, which persisted late Sunday and early Monday. Mortar attacks and drive-by shootings killed nine Iraqis and two militants.

The latest figures released from Operation Lightning, which began May 22 in Baghdad, included at least 887 arrests and the establishment around Baghdad of 608 mobile and 194 permanent checkpoints. Also, 38 weapon stores were raided.

The operation is the biggest Iraqi-led offensive since Saddam's ouster two years ago. Before it began, authorities controlled only eight of Baghdad's 23 entrances. Now all are under government control.

In other developments:

  • The U.S. military released pictures of a huge cache of insurgent weapons found in a tunnel system west of Baghdad. American commanders say tons of weapons were hidden in what may be the largest and best-equipped underground bunker discovered since the war began. They used about 300 pounds of high explosives to destory it.
  • CBS News Correspondent Kimberly Dozier reports that U.S. military are slowing down the rate of car bombings by using "predictive analysis" which tracks the car bombs to where they're built. She also reports on how suicide car bombers are primed and .
  • In a rare interview with the AP, young anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said he would steer clear of Iraqi politics as long as U.S. troops remain in the country. He warned the current government legitimizes the occupation instead of preparing for its end.