Saddam deputy is not in Iraqi custody: Iraqi government

Wext: Tuesday, 07.September. @ 00:00:00 CEST


06. 09. 2004 BAGHDAD (AFP) - Saddam Hussein's deputy Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri is not in Iraqi custody, an interior ministry spokesman told AFP, calling prior announcments by officials a "mistake".

"Today, I am happy to say there was a person arrested. But after making appropriate checks, it was not Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri. It was one of his relatives. He is also wanted but he is not on any major lists," Sabah Kadhim said Monday.

"We all make mistakes," he added, stressing that his statement was made on behalf of the whole Iraqi government.

Kadhim also said no DNA tests were carried out on Duri's relative, despite prior claims late Sunday by the government that elaborate medical tests were being carried out to verify the detainee's identity.

Iraqi government and military officials triumphantly announced Sunday the capture of Saddam's number two and recounted details of a deadly battle that left 70 insurgents dead or wounded and resulted in his capture in his hometown of Ad Dawr, near Tikrit.

The officials claimed Iraqi national guards, backed by US forces, nabbed Duri outside a medical clinic where he had just received a blood transfusion for his leukaemia.

However, the story started to collapse almost immediately as senior Iraqi commanders denied there had been any operation to snatch the last giant of the old regime and US officials insisted they had no knowledge of the arrest.

The 62-year-old Ibrahim has evaded a year-and-a-half manhunt for capture by US forces despite a 10 million dollar bounty on his head.

Source: AFP

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