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Iraq says Saddam-era vice president killed
Iraqi security forces on Friday said they probably killed Saddam Hussein's former vice president Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri during operations in Salahudin province, a provincial security source said.
Earlier in the day, the security forces clashed with gunmen near the Allas oilfield in east of Salahudin's provincial capital city of Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, leaving at least ten militants killed, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
"One of the killed largely believed to be Izzat al-Douri, and his body was immediately transferred to Baghdad to carry out DNA test to verify the identity of the body," the source said.
Douri, who believed to be one of the major founders for Sunni Arab insurgency against the U.S.-led coalition force after 2003, threatened to continue resistance against the Shi'ite-led government which he said "turned Iraq into an easy prey for Safavids," referring to the Iranian dynasty (1499-1736) that established Shiite Islam in Iran as an official state religion and frequently fought the Islamic Sunni world.
Iraqi and U.S. officials believe that Douri played a key role in organizing resistance that erupted in 2003 against the U.S.-led coalition and was instrumental in forging links between remnants of the ousted regime and Sunni Islamic militant groups.
As the Sunni insurgency spread following 2003 invasion, the United States and its allies offered a 10 million U.S. dollars reward for information leading to Douri's capture.
He was born in 1942, and had been a close associate of Saddam Hussein throughout his rule and officially was the No. 2 man in Iraq's ruling hierarchy when the Baath regime collapsed as U.S. troops occupied Iraqi capital of Baghdad in April 2003. He was No. 6 on the American "deck of cards" of most-wanted fugitives.
He was placed in command of Iraqi forces in the north just before the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003 but escaped the U.S. dragnet after organized resistance collapsed. He was rumored to be in Syria or elsewhere.
Several family members, including his wife, were detained in late 2003 in hopes of pressuring him into surrendering.
[Source: Xinhua, Tikrit, 17Apr15]
War in Iraq
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