Iraq Examining Reports that Saddam’s Deputy Killed

April 17, 2015  

Iraq is examining reports that Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, former leader Saddam Hussein’s long-fugitive deputy, has been killed.

Officials quoted by AFP said Friday that Iraq will test the body of a man killed in clashes with pro-government forces who may be al-Duri, who was vice president at the time of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Nicknamed “The Iceman” for his humble origins selling blocks of ice, he was the King of Clubs in the America Army’s deck of cards of most-wanted Iraqis.

He was suffering from leukemia at the time of the invasion, and has previously been reported dead only to resurface in audio and video messages.

Salaheddin province Governor Raad al-Juburi said fighting in the province’s Hamreen mountains area “killed 12 terrorists, among them Izzat al-Duri,” but said testing was needed to provide confirmation, according to AFP.

Hadi al-Ameri, commander of the powerful Badr militia, said that 12 members of the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group were killed in the fighting, “and one of the bodies carries the features of Duri.”

“We will test to confirm that the body belongs to Duri,” he was quoted by the news agency as having said.

Pictures circulated online showed the body of a man who bears some resemblance to Duri, but with a bushy red-dyed beard instead of the trimmed moustache he sported while in office.

The Army of the Men of the Naqshbandiyah Order — known by its Arabic initials JRTN and believed to be close to Duri — took part in a sweeping offensive that overran large areas north and west of Baghdad last June.

But little has been heard from JRTN and other groups in the months since, with the Islamic State group, which led the drive, dominating conquered territory.

Senior members of Saddam’s Baath party, to which Duri belonged, have also reportedly played a major role in ISIS.

Duri’s home town of Dawr was retaken in March as part of an operation that eventually saw pro-government forces recapture Tikrit, Saddam’s hometown.

During the battle of Tikrit, Saddam’s tomb was virtually leveled, with a video showing all that remains of Hussein’s once-lavish tomb are the support columns that held up the roof.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

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