Reports: Top Saddam lieutenant has died
Updated: 2005-11-12 08:36
A statement circulated in the name of the Baath Party said Friday that Izzat
Ibrahim al-Douri, the highest-ranking figure from Saddam Hussein's regime still
at large, had died. The report could not be independently confirmed.
The report was based on an e-mail sent to a Western news agency and signed by
the "Arab Socialist Baath Party — Iraq Command." It said al-Douri died at 2:30
a.m. Friday but gave no indication of the cause.
U.S. officials believed al-Douri played a key role in organizing resistance
that erupted in 2003 against the U.S.-led coalition and was instrumental in
forging links between remnants of Saddam's regime and Islamic extremists.
However, it was unclear whether al-Douri, who had been in poor health for
years, still played a direct role in commanding the insurgents. In June, the
Iraqi government said he was losing influence among the pro-Saddam wing of the
Washington, a U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the
information's sensitivity, could not confirm al-Douri's death.
al-Douri is seen in his former position as chairman of the Revolutionary
Command Council during a military celebration in Baghdad in this February
16, 2003 file photograph. [Reuters/file]
Arab satellite television stations broadcast the report based on the e-mail
but said they had no independent confirmation. U.S. and Iraqi officials in Iraq
also said they were aware of the report but could not verify it.
Abdul-Rahman Mohammed Ibrahim, nephew and son-in-law of al-Douri, said he had
heard the report on an Arab satellite television station but had no independent
"We don't have such news," he told The Associated Press. "I cannot deny or
confirm the report."
In Amman, Jordan, the secretary-general of the Jordanian Baath wing, Tayseer
al-Homsi, also said he had no information except what he had seen on television
newscasts. There was no such statement on Baath Web sites.
Al-Douri, born in 1942, was one of Saddam's longtime lieutenants and
officially the No. 2 man in Iraq's ruling hierarchy when the Baath regime
collapsed as U.S. troops occupied Baghdad in April 2003. He was No. 6 on the
American "deck of cards" list.
He escaped the U.S. dragnet after the collapse of the regime and had been
variously rumored to be in Syria or elsewhere. U.S. officials believed he was a
key figure in organizing resistance against the U.S.-led coalition.
Al-Douri had been rumored
to be suffering from a serious illness, possibly leukemia, before Saddam's
regime fell. He sought medical treatment in Austria in 1999 but had to leave
abruptly after human rights groups threatened to file charges against him in
A file photograph shows a U.S. issued playing
card bearing the image of Izzat Ibrahim, deputy of former Iraqi president
Saddam Hussein who died November 11, 2005, Al Arabiya satellite television
quoted a Baath party statement as
Last June, the Iraqi government said in a statement that al-Douri was sick
and losing influence among Baath party leaders but nonetheless retained his
ability to "recruit terrorists and finance terrorist attacks with money he stole
from Iraq and transferred to Syria during the rule of the tyrant Saddam."
Al-Douri had been rumored to have been arrested several times before, most
notably in September 2004, when Iraqi authorities announced his capture during a
raid near his home village near Tikrit. Later, the Iraqi Defense Ministry said
the report was false.