US Army: Saddam deputy still at large, American soldier killed near Samarra
The U.S. Army denied Tuesday reports that Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, a senior lieutenant of ousted leader Saddam Hussein, had been captured in a raid. "He was definitely not captured in today's mission," Maj. Doug Vincent of the 173rd Airborne Brigade told reporters who accompanied troops on the raid in Hawija, near Kirkuk.
Earlier, a member of the Governing Council said Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, 61, one of the most wanted men in Iraq, may have been killed or caught in a massive US raid in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk.
The report on the capture of al-Duri came as the US military launched a massive search operation around Iraq's northern oil center of Kirkuk overnight.
A top Iraqi police official said the operation was concentrated on the town of Hawijah, 45 kilometers to the west of Kirkuk, and the village of Rashad, 60 kilometers to the south.
Al-Duri, former Vice Chairman of the Iraqi Republican Command Council was Saddam's longtime deputy and alleged paymaster of many attacks on US-led occupation forces. He is the highest-ranking official of the former regime still at large, apart from the toppled leader himself.
Born, like Saddam, in the Tikrit district north of the capital, Ibrahim also has tribal connections in the Mosul region further north through his daughter-in-law's family.
Not a military man by training, Ibrahim was nonetheless given the honorary rank of lieutenant general and made deputy commander of the armed forces and commander of the northern region.
Elsewhere, a witness said Iraqi fighters ambushed American soldiers just south of Samarra. Tuesday's ambush occurred on the road between Baghdad and Samarra, some 100 kilometers north of the capital, witnesses said. An Associated Press photographer said he saw American troops using a stretcher to carry a body covered in plastic. An officer at the site of the attack confirmed one US soldier was killed.
Pressmen said the convoy was escorting a truck carrying a damaged Apache helicopter from Samarra south to Baghdad. (Albawaba.com)
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