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Saddam Hussein’s Right-Hand Man Allegedly Killed In Iraq

The top Saddam Hussein adviser to evade capture by U.S. troops during the war in Iraq was reportedly killed recently by Shiite militias and Iraqi security forces in a central Iraqi province.

Ezzat Ibrahim al-Douri, dubbed a ‘red haired devil’ last summer, was “a key figure in Sunni extremist groups battling the Iraqi government,” according to CNN. He was the “mastermind of ISIS in Iraq,” writes an Arabic-language article in Al-Arabiya.

He was also instrumental in the ISIS blitz that took Mosul and Tikrit, according to reports, with fighters hoisting posters of him and Saddam when ISIS took the city.

Raed al-Jubouri, the governor of Salahuddin province in central Iraq, reported his death, calling him a terrorist and a murderer of Iraqi people, according to interviews with Al Arabiya. Douri’s death will raise the morale of the security forces and discourage terrorists, added the provincial governor.

General Haider al-Basri, told journalists that Shi’ite Iraqi Army units killed Douri and nine bodyguards while riding in a convoy east of Salahuddin, just outside of Tikrit, according to the Associated Press.

Douri purportedly led the Sufi armed group, The Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order. Also know by the acronym JRTN, it was formed after Hussein’s execution in the mid-2000s. Most members are Sunni and have a history of targeting coalition forces, according to Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium (TRAC).

Although Douri’s armed group is distinct from the Islamic State, reports indicate Hussein’s Baathist-era advisers play a vital role in the terrorist organization’s operations.

According to CNN, Douri was the “‘King of Clubs’ in a deck of playing cards used by American troops to identify the most-wanted regime officials.”

There has yet to be U.S. confirmation of Douri’s death, and some affiliated parties have denied it. According to Reuters, “Khdhayer Almurshidy, a spokesman for Iraq’s former Baath party, said in comments to Iraq’s al-Hadath television that the reports were false. Al-Douri was a senior member of the party.”

Douri’s death has been reported previously, but Jubouri says DNA testing will be performed in order to ensure his identity.

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