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Former aide to Saddam Hussain, Al Douri killed by Iraqi forces

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Former aide to Saddam Hussain, Al Douri killed by Iraqi forces
BAGHDAD: A former aide to late Iraqi President Saddam Hussain and a leader of Iraq’s insurgency, Ezzat Ebrahim Al Douri, may have been killed by Iraqi forces and Shi’ite militias involved in an operation against insurgent forces.

Raed Al Jubouri, the governor of Salahuddin province, told Al Arabiya television that Al Douri had been killed, and the station broadcast a photo of a dead man who looked like Al Douri.

“This is a major victory for those involved in the operation,” Al Jubouri said. “He is considered a mastermind for this terrorist group,” he said, referring to Daesh 9 the so called Islamic State), an offshoot of Al Qaida, which has taken swathes of Syria and Iraq.

“For sure this will have an impact on them ... There will be a break among them,” he said.

Baghdad has mounted an offensive against Daesh and former Baathists once loyal to Saddam Hussain to retake territory in Iraq’s Sunni heartland captured by jihadists last summer. Al Douri was believed to be a key figure in that insurgency.

While Baghdad has announced Al Douri’s death several times before, this time photos were circulating showing a man with similar features and red hair like Al Douri’s. DNA from the body will be tested to confirm it is him, Al Jubouri.

Ahmad Al Kraim, the head of Salahuddin provincial council, said news of Al Douri’s death was not confirmed and intelligence officers who tracked his movements did not believe he was the man in the photographs.

Khaled Jassam, a member of the security committee in Salahuddin provincial council, said the committee were 70 per cent sure Al Douri had been killed but were awaiting medical tests.

Here are some facts about Al Douri

He was the senior member of Saddam’s regime still at large and ranked six on the US military’s list of 55 most-wanted Iraqis, with a $10 million reward offered for his capture.

After Saddam Hussain was toppled and before Al Qaida and later Daesh rose to prominence, Al Douri led an insurgency against Baghdad’s Shi’ite-led government, organising and leading major attacks against symbols of the new rule.

Iraqi Security officials and the US military have said he helped lead the Sunni Arab-led insurgency that erupted after the 2003 invasion. Rumours of his capture have surfaced periodically, but he remained on the run until the report of his death.

Hailing from the Tikrit region, he helped plot the 1968 coup that brought the Baath party to power. His frail appearance hid a ruthlessness that helped Saddam keep his grip at the top.

He served as vice-president and deputy chairman of Iraq’s powerful Revolutionary Command Council until the 2003 US-led invasion that ousted Saddam.

He was a senior official responsible for northern Iraq when poison gas was used on Halabja in 1988, killing some 5,000 Kurds. He cut short a visit to Vienna for medical treatment in 1999 to avoid arrest for suspected crimes against humanity.

Born in 1942, he did not finish high school or do military training, but Saddam made him deputy commander-in-chief of the armed forces with the rank of lieutenant general

Sharon Shetty

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