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Arrest Made in Saddam Execution Probe

An adviser to Iraq's prime minister says officials have arrested a person they suspect of secretly recording on a mobile phone camera the execution of Saddam Hussein.

The official did not identify that person.

The unauthorized video showing witnesses taunting the former dictator before his execution has worsened sectarian tensions in Iraq and has drawn international criticism.

U.S. military officials in Iraq said Wednesday they had no role in Saturday's execution and would have handled it differently.

The New York Times newspaper reports that U.S. officials tried to persuade Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to delay the execution because of concerns about the legality of the process and because of the start of the Eid al-Adha Muslim religious holiday.

But U.S. officials said Mr. Maliki was concerned that if Saddam was not hanged quickly he would somehow avoid execution.

The newspaper quotes U.S. officials who said the prime minister was concerned that pro-Saddam insurgents would stage a mass kidnapping to bargain for his release.

Iraqi officials have indicated they may execute two of Saddam's co-defendants on Thursday.

Media reports from Baghdad say officials have started preparing to execute Saddam's half-brother and former head of intelligence, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, and the former chief judge Awad Ahmed al-Bandar.

In Ramadi Wednesday, the U.S. military said coalition forces detained 23 suspected terrorists with ties to senior al-Qaida leaders during multiple raids.

A separate military statement said an Iraqi court has sentenced to death three foreign terrorists who were convicted of al-Qaida-linked terrorist activities. The three, a Saudi, a Sudanese and a Syrian, were among 48 detainees convicted by Iraq's Criminal Court last month.

The U.S. military Wednesday also announced the death of an American soldier, who was killed by a roadside bomb blast south of Baghdad on Sunday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.