Home>News Center>World

Iraqi govt confused on whether Saddam aide caught
Updated: 2004-09-06 09:12

Iraq's government was mirde in confusion on Sunday on whether the most wanted Saddam Hussein aide still on the run had been caught, with the defense minister denying his own ministry's report the fugitive had been seized.

Defense Minister Hazim al-Shalaan said reports of the arrest of Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, 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, were baseless.

Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, right, talks to Saddam Hussein in an undated file photograph. [CNN/File]

"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.

He was directly contradicting reports from his own spokesmen, who said earlier that Ibrahim had been arrested in Tikrit, Saddam's former powerbase north of Baghdad. Two Iraqi ministers said the capture followed a bloody raid in which 150 of Ibrahim's supporters tried to prevent his capture.

Iraqi Minister of State Wael Abdul al-Latif said it was "75 to 90 percent certain" Ibrahim had been seized, adding that 70 of the former official's supporters were killed and 80 captured when they tried to thwart his arrest.

He said Arabs from outside Iraq had been among those protecting Ibrahim, who was suffering from leukemia.

"He's in a very deteriorated state of health," Latif said.

An Iraqi man watches an Arabic satellite channel, distributing news of the arrest of a man believed to Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, in Baghdad on September 5, 2004. [Reuters]

Latif said U.S.-backed Iraqi forces captured Ibrahim, but the U.S. military said it had no knowledge of such an operation and the fugitive was not in U.S. custody. In Washington, White House spokesman Trent Duffy said of the reported arrest: "We're still trying to confirm that. We've seen the news reports."

The provincial Iraqi National Guard commander in Tikrit said none of his men were involved in any capture mission. "We have no information. No units of ours took part in such an operation," Major General Ahmed Khalaf Salman said.

There was also no sign around Tikrit of any battle involving dozens killed.

An aide to Iraq's prime minister said DNA tests were under way to confirm whether a man in Iraqi custody was Ibrahim.


Ibrahim, born near Tikrit in 1942, was the King of Clubs in a deck of cards issued to U.S. troops to help them identify fugitives.

Reports of his capture spread fast and in some Baghdad districts residents fired in the air in celebration. "He is the symbol of the former regime," said retired civil servant Abbas al-Kabbi, 50. "It is the end of a bloody criminal regime."

Ibrahim was Saddam's number two in the Revolutionary Command Council and held a senior post on a government committee in charge of northern Iraq when chemical weapons were used against the town of Halabja in 1988, killing thousands of Kurds.

The top five on the U.S. most wanted list, including Saddam, his sons Uday and Qusay, and "Chemical Ali" Hassan al-Majid, have already been captured or killed.

Minister of State Kasim Daoud told a news conference in Kuwait that trials of Saddam and other top members of the regime would begin soon. "Saddam Hussein and his band will stand trials within a period of weeks," he said.

The U.S. army said a mortar attack on one of its bases near Baghdad on Sunday killed two American soldiers and wounded 16.

France said it still hoped two French hostages in Iraq would be freed, though its foreign minister returned empty-handed from a Middle East diplomatic mission.

"We have serious reasons to believe both of them are in good health and that a favorable outcome is possible," Foreign Minister Michel Barnier told reporters. "Our top priority today remains to secure their release."


Journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot were seized on Aug. 20 by the Islamic Army in Iraq militant group, which demanded Paris rescind a law banning Muslim headscarves in state schools. France refused the demand.

Militants have turned to kidnapping foreigners in a campaign to force firms and foreign troops to leave Iraq. About two dozen foreign hostages have been killed.

Police said the body of an Egyptian kidnapped last month had been found in northern Iraq, bearing signs of torture.

Al Jazeera reported four Jordanians had been taken hostage.

A group called the Falluja Mujahideen sent a video tape to the Arabic television channel saying the four men were drivers transporting materials to U.S. forces.

Employers of a Turkish truck driver seized in Iraq have agreed to pull out of the country after his captors threatened to behead him, Turkey's state Anatolian news agency reported.

  Today's Top News     Top World News

Asian political parties pledge co-operation



55 dead in Sichuan floods, 52 missing



ASEAN recognizes China as market economy



Russians burying attack victims, 350 dead



Saddam's top aide Ibrahim captured



Britain still waiting for Chinese tourists


  Russians begin burying victims of attack
  Iraqi govt confused on whether Saddam aide caught
  Frances knocks out power, floods Florida
  Democrat says US shielded Saudis from 9/11 links
  Second quake hits Japan, evacuations ordered
  Gunmen briefly seize Gaza governor's office
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  Related Stories  
Saddam's top aide Ibrahim captured
Alleged Iraqi 'sleeper agent' for Saddam arrested
Pulled from a hole, Saddam asks: 'America, why?'
  News Talk  
  Are the Republicans exploiting the memory of 9/11?