October 21, 2009 / 11:06 AM / 10 years ago

Saddam tribal leader charged with funding insurgency

TIKRIT, Iraq, Oct 21 (Reuters) - The leader of Saddam Hussein’s tribe has been arrested in Iraq and accused of funding insurgents in the north of the country, the U.S. military said on Wednesday.

Iraqi troops backed by U.S. advisers over the weekend detained Diyah Adib Hassan Albu Nasir in his home in Baiji, near Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit, under an arrest warrant, and also detained his son.

Nasir "is suspected of funding insurgent activities for several terrorist organisations in northern Iraq," the U.S. military said in a statement.

Albu Nasir is the name of the tribe of former Iraqi leader Saddam, who was ousted in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. Saddam was executed by the Iraqi government in December 2006.

The sectarian violence unleashed by the U.S. invasion has subsided but attacks by insurgents, including Sunni Islamist al Qaeda, and other violent groups continue on an almost daily basis, claiming dozens of lives every month.

Al Qaeda largely retreated to the northern province of Nineveh after Sunni tribal chiefs in its former strongholds in western Iraq turned on the group and allied themselves with U.S. forces. But Saddam’s home province of Salahuddin, especially around Tikrit, 150 km (95 miles) north of Baghdad, remains volatile.

Last month, more than a dozen suspected al Qaeda militants climbed through a ventilation duct and broke free from jail in Tikrit, calling into question the abilities of Iraqi security forces as U.S. soldiers prepare to withdraw from Iraq by 2012. (Reporting by Sabah al-Bazee; Writing by Michael Christie; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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