Skip to comments.Man believed to be Saddam's deputy in custody at last
Posted on 09/05/2004 2:26:09 PM PDT by TexKat
AD-DAWR, Iraq (AFP) - A man believed to be Saddam Hussein's most wanted henchman Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri was in Iraqi custody, the prime minister's office confirmed, following conflicting reports over whether the near-18-month hunt for the feared fugitive was over.
Iraqi experts were conducting DNA tests late Sunday to establish beyond doubt that the longtime Saddam number two was finally behind bars, Prime Iyad Allawi's spokesman Taha Hussein told AFP.
The announcement came after a top Iraqi national guard commander had poured scorn on reports from both subordinates and the interior ministry that Ibrahim was to be brought to justice alongside his erstwhile boss.
Interior ministry and national guard officers said Ibrahim had been seized in a deadly gunbattle following a tip-off he was receiving medical treatment at a clinic near his and Saddam's Tikrit hometown.
But US commanders declined to confirm that the suspected insurgent financier they had sought for so long was in custody at last as boasted by their Iraqi counterparts.
Residents of this bastion of Saddam loyalism certainly appeared to believe that US-backed forces had found their elusive quarry, nine months after the ousted president himself was captured hiding down a hole in the same village.
An AFP correspondent saw shopkeepers downing shutters among other signs of mourning in an area that still has huge nostalgia for Saddam's regime.
It was the national guard commander for the Tikrit area, Colonel Abdullah Juburi, who announced Ibrahim's capture in a bloody battle around an Ad-Dawr doctor's clinic.
The sickly, 62-year-old former number two had gone there for a blood transfusion enforced by longstanding leukaemia, when he was surprised by US-backed national guard officers, Juburi told AFP.
Ibrahim's supporters put up ferocious resistance, Juburi added.
An interior ministry spokesman put the casualty toll from the ensuing gunbattle as high as 70.
However Juburi's immediate superior -- Major General Ahmed Khalaf Salman who commands the whole of north-central Iraq -- disavowed his subordinate's account.
"Our forces did not take part in any operation and did not capture Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri and we do not have any information concerning the subject," he said.
It is certainly true there have been previous claims of Ibrahim's capture which later turned out to be unsubstantiated.
But equally US commanders might well have wanted to keep under wraps any suggestion such a prized intelligence asset was in friendly hands, or keep for themselves the announcement of such a major coup against their insurgent foes.
Asked to clarify the confusion over his earlier announcement that Ibrahim was indeed in national guard custody, interior ministry spokesman Colonel Adnan Abdelrahman said: "Call the defence ministry because these are the people who told us this story."
Defence ministry officials were not immediately available for comment.
For its part, the US military said Ibrahim was not in its custody.
A senior officer said he had no record of US troops supporting any capture operation and added that US commanders had received no formal notification from the Iraqis.
"They cannot confirm we had helicopters in the air or we were in a joint operation to capture him," said Rear Admiral Greg Slavonic.
Only Al-Qaeda's alleged Iraq commander Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi is more sought-after than Ibrahim, who has had a 10-million dollar US bounty on his head since as long ago as last November.
US commanders have long accused Ibrahim of using Saddam's vast caches of hard currency to bankroll the insurgency that has dogged their troops virtually since his downfall.
They also charge that Ibrahim has used his reputation as a devout Muslim to forge an unholy alliance with the Islamic militants they hold responsible for some of the deadliest attacks.
Amid the conflicting reports over Ibrahim's whereabouts, US and Iraqi forces pressed some of their most aggressive counter-insurgency operations in months.
US troops battled rebels in the northern town of Tall Afar for a second day while a combined force arrested 500 suspected militants in the heartland of the Sunni Muslim insurgency.
Iraqi police and national guardsmen, assisted by US forces, raided the town of Latifiya, 30 kilometres (20 miles) south of Baghdad, marking the first time the interim government had taken decisive action against Sunni insurgents since it took full powers in late June.
Twelve policemen were killed and 17 people wounded in the operation, with 500 suspected "terrorists" arrested and a large haul of weapons seized, including five barrels of TNT, an Iraqi intelligence officer said.
The town is part of a virtual no-go zone for US troops, Iraqi police and foreigners and has earned the name "Fallujah's second head" after the Sunni rebel strongold west of Baghdad.
The spot is where two French journalists, held by a group calling itself the Islamic Army of Iraq, disappeared on August 20.
Leading hardline cleric Sheikh Mehdi al-Sumaidaie issued a fatwa or Islamic decree demanding the immediate release of the two reporters -- Georges Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot.
The cleric, an influential figure among Sunni militant groups, also lambasted the Iraqi government and US forces for staging the raid in Latifiya, saying it had harmed efforts for the French duo's release.
US troops and insurgents also fought for a second day in Tall Afar, which the military claims has serves as a way station for militants slipping into Iraq from Syria.
Fighting erupted after gunmen fired on a US army convoy outside the mainly Shiite Turkmen town, west of the main northern city of Mosul, police said.
US soldiers and Iraqi national guardsmen then poured into the town centre where clashes broke out lasting for about two hours before the combined force withdrew.
Elsewhere, the body of an Egyptian was found on a road north of Tikrit in the latest in a string of gruesome murders of foreigners suspected of working with the Americans in Iraq.
Two Iraqis were killed and five wounded in a US air raid near the town of Balad, another Sunni insurgent bastion, medics said.
Two US soldiers were later killed and 16 wounded in a mortar attack in the same region, the US military said.
Get that tree and rope ready..........
This should make EVERYONE happy here in America.
Is this the red haired guy??
why are there reports that it aint true?
CNN says it's not true
Apparently . . if they really have him.
Is this the Final Story on this?
Reports on Ibrahim Capture Baseless-Iraq Minister
Sun Sep 5, 2004 04:51 PM ET
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FACTBOX-Izzat Ibrahim, Most Wanted Iraqi After Saddam
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Iraqi Govt Confused on Whether Saddam Aide Caught
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Iraq's Defense Minister Hazim al-Shalaan said on Sunday reports on the capture of Izzat Ibrahim al Douri, the most wanted Saddam Hussein aide, were baseless.
"We don't have any information regarding this issue. What has been said of a statement by the Defense Ministry is baseless," he told Lebanon's LBC television channel.
The Defense Ministry in Baghdad had said Ibrahim, who was sixth on a U.S. list of the 55 most wanted members of Saddam's administration and had a $10 million price on his head, was arrested in Tikrit, Saddam's former powerbase north of Baghdad.
"The joint forces carried out combing operations and struck at terrorist positions," Shalaan said.
"They captured many terrorists and there are rumors that Izzat al Douri or someone who looks like him is among them, but we don't have any specific information regarding Izzat al Douri."
"This should make EVERYONE happy here in America."
Everyone but kerry and his Freaks.
Dat be 'him...
I am so damn confused.....is it him or not.
> why are there reports that it aint true?
Because Kerry has instructed his future Minister of
Information to order the State "Truth Industry" to
withhold publication (and contradict any rumors) of
"misinformation" that could be misintrepreted as
favorable to anti-progressive elements.
BAGHDAD, Iraq Iraqi authorities said Sunday that they captured Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri (search), the most wanted fugitive from Saddam Hussein's ousted dictatorship, but the Iraqi defense minister later said word of al-Douri's capture was "baseless."
The U.S. military said it could not confirm al-Douri's arrest and said he was not in American custody.
Past reports of al-Douri's arrest have proven false. But several top Iraqi officials said his capture was all but confirmed in a raid on a clinic near Adwar, al-Douri's hometown, in the region of Tikrit (search), where Saddam and many of his top officials were from. Saddam was captured Dec. 13 hiding in a safe-house near Adwar.
Allawi said its true.......who the hell knows anymore.
Kaslin that was directed at you personally....
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