Saddam's king of clubs, ISIS commander killed in Iraq
By: Ismail Zabeeh
BAGHDAD, Iraq: Iraqi officials say they believe government forces
have killed Saddam Hussein’s former deputy who later allied himself
with Islamic State militants – Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri.
Douri was known as the “king of clubs” in the deck of playing cards
issued to help US troops identify key members of Saddam’s regime.
The governor of Salahuddin province, Raed al-Jabouri, says soldiers
and allied Shia/Sunni militiamen killed Douri early on Friday in an
operation east of the city of Tikrit. A graphic photo issued by the
government purports to be of Douri’s corpse.
A senior regional commander, General Haider al-Basri, told Iraqi state
TV that Douri and nine bodyguards were killed by gunshots while riding
in a convoy.
Douri’s apparent death came as Iraqi security forces gained full
control over a contested area south of the country’s largest oil
General Ayad al-Lahabi, a commander with the Salahuddin Command
Center, said the military, backed by coalition air strikes and Shia
and Sunni militias dubbed the Popular Mobilisation Forces, gained
control of the towns of al-Malha and al-Mazraah, located 3km (1.9
miles) south of the Beiji oil refinery, killing at least 160 Isis
Lahabi said security forces are trying to secure two corridors around
the refinery itself after the ISIS militants launched a large-scale
attack on the complex earlier this week, hitting the refinery walls
with explosive-laced Humvees.
Extremists from Isis seized much of Salahuddin province last summer
during their advance across northern and western Iraq. The battle for
Tikrit was seen as a key step towards eventually driving the militants
out of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city and the capital of Nineveh
province. In November, Iraqi security forces said they had recaptured
the town of Beiji from the militant group. The refinery had never been
captured by the militants but has been subjected to frequent attacks
by the group.
In Iraq’s western Anbar province, meanwhile, Iraqi special forces
maintained control of the provincial capital, Ramadi, after days of
intense clashes with Isis left the city at risk. Sabah Nuaman, a
special forces commander in Anbar, said the situation had improved
early on Friday after air strikes hit key militant targets on the
Sabah al-Karhout, head of Anbar’s provincial council, said there were
no major attacks on the city on Friday but that the militants still
maintained control of three villages to the east of Ramadi, which they
captured on Wednesday, sending thousands of civilians fleeing for
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