Iraqi security forces corner Saddam aide
BAGHDAD - Reuters
An Iraqi boy protests the gov’t by holding up the Iraqi flag used during Baath rule. AFP photoIraqi special forces are closing in on the most senior member of Saddam Hussein’s inner circle still on the run since the 2003 invasion, security sources said today.
Troops backed by helicopters were searching for Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, head of Saddam’s now-outlawed Baath party, in villages around the former ruler’s hometown of Tikrit. “We have solid information that he is in Dour since last night, now we have closed the area, announced a curfew and are searching house by house,” said one senior security officer. Capturing the most prominent Baath leader would be a major victory for the Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki before provincial elections that will measure his political muscle for the 2014 parliamentary ballot.
Douri was long believed to be living outside Iraq, and he was last seen in January in a video message encouraging Sunni protesters to resist al-Maliki’s government. He was vice-chairman of Saddam’s Revolutionary Command Council until the invasion.