Iraqi and U.S. forces arrested a man believed to be the most wanted Saddam Hussein aide still on the run in a bloody raid in which 70 of his supporters were killed and 80 were captured, Iraqi officials said on Sunday.
In another development, U.S. troops battled rebels in the northern town of Tall Afar for a second day Sunday as Iraqi and U.S. forces arrested 500 suspected militants in the heartland of the Sunni insurgency, wrote the Daily Star.
He had a $10 million (5.6 million pound) bounty on his head. The U.S. military -- which said he was not in its custody -- has said he helped lead insurgency operations.
"Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri has been operating in the Tikrit region for months.
It is the only area where he could really go," said Major General Ahmad al-Khafaji, a senior security official.
"Ibrahim's advantage is that he was completely loyal. As a leader he was weak. Saddam would not have made him his deputy otherwise. He did not want leaders to shape men."
Ibrahim's career in government and the Baath Party hierarchy was always overshadowed by Saddam.
He was Saddam's deputy in the Revolutionary Command Council, which functioned as both executive and legislature. He was also a senior member of a government committee in charge of northern Iraq when chemical weapons were used against the town of Halabja in 1988, killing thousands of Kurds, informs Reuters.
However, US Major Neal O’Brien of the Tikrit-based 1st Infantry Division said he could not confirm the report and US-led forces issued a statement saying he was not in their custody.
A senior US diplomat said they had nothing to indicate that al-Douri had been arrested. Iraqi officials have mistakenly reported al-Douri’s arrest several times before.
Late last year, al-Douri’s wife and daughter were detained. In January, troops arrested four of his nephews who were suspected of helping him hide. Since Saddam was arrested close to Tikrit on December 13, al-Douri has taken on the title of the Pentagon’s most wanted man in Iraq, reports Scotsman.