Top Iraqi militant Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri ‘killed’

IRAQ, APR 17: Fugitive Iraqi militant leader Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, a former right-hand man to Saddam Hussein, has been killed, Iraqi officials say.

They say he died in fighting with government troops in Salahuddin province, north of Baghdad.

Al-Douri, 72, led the Naqshbandi Order insurgent group, a key force behind the recent rise of Islamic State (IS).

He was deputy to Saddam Hussein, who was ousted when US-led forces invaded Iraq in 2003 and executed in 2006.

Al-Douri was regarded as the most high-profile official of Saddam Hussein’s Baath party to successfully evade capture after the invasion, and had a large bounty on his head for years.
He was the King of Clubs in the famous pack of cards the US issued of wanted members of Saddam Hussein’s regime after its defeat.

There have been reports of al-Douri’s death or capture before, but correspondents say this is the most credible so far.

Al-Arabiya TV showed a picture of what it said was al-Douri’s body.

Salahuddin governor Raed al-Jabouri said he died during an operation by soldiers and allied Shia militiamen east of Tikrit – a city that was recaptured by the government two weeks ago.

Iraqi forces, backed by US-led air strikes, have seized large areas from IS and its allies in recent months.

However, the jihadist group still controls swathes of northern and western Iraq, including the second city of Mosul.

Al-Douri is believed to have played a key role in masterminding last year’s offensive by IS.