US troops nab Izzat’s private secretary

December 03, 2003

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KIRKUK, Dec 2: US troops detained the private secretary of Saddam Hussein’s number two, Izzat Ibrahim al Duri, during a massive sweep in the Iraqi town of Hawijah on Tuesday, a police official said.

“Saad Mohammad al Duri was arrested in a house in the Hawijah area, where he was hiding,” the official said.

Earlier, the US military denied reports that Izzat Ibrahim al Douri, the most wanted man in Iraq after Saddam Hussein and alleged mastermind of attacks on the occupation forces, had been captured in a raid.

Confusion surrounded the outcome of a large-scale operation by US troops and Iraqi police near the northern city of Kirkuk, still under way after nightfall on Tuesday.

Sources in Iraq’s Governing Council said Izzat Ibrahim, a man with a 10 million dollar price on his head, had been either seized or killed in the raid. US officials at first had no comment, but then late in the day said they were not holding Mr Ibrahim.

“He was definitely not captured in today’s mission,” Major Doug Vincent of the 173rd Airborne Brigade told reporters who accompanied troops on the raid in Hawija, near Kirkuk. Several other suspects were detained.

Kirkuk police chief Torhan Abulrahman, speaking soon after, had however not given up hope.

“The operation has been running since this morning and the possibility we have Izzat Ibrahim is more than 80 per cent, but I can’t say for sure whether he has been killed or captured yet,” he said.—Reuters