Ezzat Ibrahim al-Douri, former right-hand man to late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and a leader of Iraq’s Sunni insurgency, has been reported killed by Iraqi forces and Shia militias.
Douri was killed in a military operation, Raed al-Jubouri, the governor of Salahuddin province, told Reuters. The pan-Arab television network al-Arabiya showed images of a dead man who looked like al-Douri.
Baghdad has mistakenly announced al-Douri’s death several times before, but this time photos are circulating showing a man with features and red hair like his. Al-Jubouri told Reuters DNA from the body would be tested and results released “very soon”.
His killing, if confirmed, would be a big blow to the Sunni insurgency, an alliance of former Baathist officers and Islamic State.
“The mastermind of terrorist operations has been killed and he is Ezzat al-Douri,” al-Jubouri told Arabiya TV. “Al-Douri is the biggest mastermind behind all attacks that undermined Iraq. This news will have an impact on the morale of the fighters.”
After the 2003 US-led invasion, Douri was ranked sixth on the U.S. military’s list of 55 most wanted Iraqis and a $10 million reward was offered for his capture. Iraqi and U.S. officials accused him of organizing and leading the insurgency that swept Iraq in 2005-07.
He evaded capture during the long U.S. occupation as other Saddam aides were killed or put on trial and sectarian civil war engulfed the country.