The former deputy of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has been killed after evading capture for 12 years, according to a provincial official.
Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri was shot dead by a Shiite militia during an attack on a convoy in Salahuddin province, near the city of Tikrit which was wrested from Islamic State control early this month, local government spokesman Ali Al-Hamdani said.
Other officials cautioned that DNA tests were being conducted to confirm the death. Iraqi media have reported al-Duri’s killing or capture on previous occasions.
Al-Duri led a militant group known as the Naqshabandi army, which aided Islamic State in its capture of Mosul last year, the springboard for a wider offensive across swaths of Iraq.
He served as vice president of the revolutionary command council and took over the now banned Baath party after Saddam’s ouster. Salahuddin governor Raid Jabbouri told al-Arabiya television that al-Duri was a key figure among Sunni militants in Iraq, and was responsible for the killing of many Iraqis.
The network broadcast pictures of the bloodied body of a bearded, red-haired man with similarities to al-Duri.
Born near Tikrit in 1942, al-Duri was represented as the king of clubs in the most-wanted deck of playing cards issued after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. He was the most high profile Baathist official to escape detention.