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Saddam Hussein’s Top Aide Reportedly Dead After 17 Years Of Avoiding Arrest

(Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images)

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A senior leader under dictator Saddam Hussein’s administration who avoided being arrested for 17 years died on Saturday, according to Iraqi and Baath party officials.

Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, 78, died in Iraq of unnamed causes, the New York Times reported on Thursday. Al-Douri reportedly received treatment for leukemia for several years according to Baath Party commander Essam Alrawi.

Populist Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr wished al-Douri “to hell and worsened fate,” on Twitter.

Hussein’s daughter Raghad referred to al-Douri as “the brother and real supporter for my father during his rule and after,” in a tweet Monday. Al-Douri reportedly served as the secretary-general of the Baath party as part of Hussein’s inner circle, the NYT reported.

The Baath political party was banned after Hussein’s rule, though they sometimes send out various online communications, the NYT reported.

“Today, the knight of the Baath and the Iraqi national resistance has dismounted from his horse,” a Baath party statement said, the NYT reported. The party stated that al-Douri was a “symbol of courage, heroism and sacrifice.”

The Iraqi Parliament criticized a Tunisian politician who said a chapter of the Quran should be read to honor al-Douri, the NYT reported. The Parliament said al-Douri was “a fugitive from justice,” who killed thousands of Iraqis.

Al-Douri held many high-ranking government and military positions, the NYT reported. He was accused of using excessive military force multiple times. (RELATED: Biden Says He ‘Didn’t Believe’ Saddam Had Nuclear Weapons But Still Voted To Invade Iraq)

Recently, al-Douri led an insurgent group of Hussein loyalists called the Naqshbandi Order, the NYT reported. The insurgency reportedly worked with the Islamic State to occupy Iraqi land.

Al-Douri was reported dead in 2005 and 2015, though he was seen in audio and video recordings later on, the NYT reported.

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