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WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. forces captured a former senior Baath Party leader who is No. 8 on Central Command's list of the 55 most-wanted Iraqis, American officials announced Thursday.

A brief Central Command statement said Aziz Sajih al-Numan "is now in custody of coalition forces."

He is the highest-ranking person on the list of 55 to be taken into custody so far.

Al-Numan was identified as the Baath Party's regional command chairman responsible for west Baghdad. He also is a former governor of Karbala and Najaf, according to the Central Command statement.

Central Command said he was captured by coalition forces Wednesday near Baghdad.

The highest-ranked Iraqi from the list of 55 in custody before al-Numan's capture was Muhammad Hamza al-Zubaydi, a former deputy prime minister and former member of the Baath Party regional command. He was taken into custody April 20.

The capture of al-Numan brought to 25 the number of Iraqis from the top-55 list who are in coalition custody, according to the Pentagon's count.

On Tuesday, Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced the surrender of Uglah Abid Saqir al-Kubaysi, No. 50 on the list. Myers said Al-Kubaysi turned himself in Monday. He was a leader of President Saddam Hussein's Baath Party in the Maysan region of southeastern Iraq.

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