updated 2/13/2008 7:50:20 AM ET 2008-02-13T12:50:20

The acting administrator of a psychiatric hospital in Baghdad has been detained on suspicion that he played a role in supplying patient information to al-Qaida in Iraq, the U.S. military said Wednesday.

Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, a military spokesman, said U.S. and Iraqi forces arrested the man in his office Sunday and conducted a "thorough search" of the al-Rashad psychiatric hospital in Baghdad.

"Coalition forces detained a hospital administrator in connection with the possible exploitation of mentally impaired women to al-Qaida," Smith said.

"The administrator remains in coalition force detention and is being questioned to determine what role if any in supplying al-Qaida with information regarding patients at the al-Rashad psychiatric hospital or from other medical facilities in Baghdad," he added.

Investigation into Feb. 1 bombings
He said the man, whom he did not identify, was detained as part of the investigation into the Feb. 1 bombings of two crowded pet markets in Baghdad. He said he could not provide more details, citing the ongoing investigation.

U.S. and Iraqi officials blamed al-Qaida for the bombings and said the bombers were two mentally disabled women strapped with remote-control explosives and apparently did not know they were being used. Iraqi officials put the death toll at 99 in both attacks.

The U.S. military later expressed concern that al-Qaida was increasingly turning to women and children as suicide bombers to get around stepped up security measures.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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