A prominent former aide to late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Izzat al-Douri, has been killed in a wide-scale operation, Al Jazeera has learned.
Al-Douri – believed to be mastermind of the insurgency against the current government – was an influential leader and is said to have played a role in helping the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) expand in the country.
The governor of Salahaddin Province has confirmed Douri’s death, saying the former general was killed in fighting that broke out between Iraqi security forces and ISIL fighters east of Tikrit.
Al-Douri was known as the “king of clubs” in the deck of playing cards issued to help U.S. identify key members of Saddam’s regime.
He was killed by Iraqi and allied militiamen in a government operation to the east of Saddam’s hometown, Salahuddin provincial governor, Raed al-Jabouri, told The Associated Press news agency.
was taking place in the Talal Hamreen mountains, al-Jabouri said.
A series of graphic photos issued by the government on Friday purport to be of al-Douri’s corpse. A bright red beard and a moustache — the moustache was al-Douri’s most distinguishing feature among Saddam’s coterie — were visible in the photos.
Senior Iraqi regional commander, General Haider al-Basri, told Iraqi state TV that al-Douri and nine bodyguards were killed by gunshots while riding in a convoy. Al-Basri did not elaborate why the Iraqi forces opened fire at the convoy.
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