Izzat Ibrahim Al-Douri, a former top deputy to Saddam Hussein and more recently a key figure in Sunni extremist groups battling the Iraqi government, has been killed in a security operation in that country, Iraqi state-run television reported Friday.
Al-Douri was the highest-ranking member of Hussein’s regime to evade capture — the “King of Clubs” in a deck of playing cards used by American troops to identify the most-wanted regime officials.
He also was a man thought to have led the post-Hussein Sunni extremist group Naqshbandi Army. Military analysis website Globalsecurity.org says the Naqshbandi Army supports ISIS, the group that has taken over parts of Iraq and Syria.
Al-Douri was killed in an operation by Iraqi security forces and Shia militia members between Tikrit and Kirkuk, Iraq, Shia militia commander Hadi al-Ameri said.
His death also was reported by the governor of Salahuddin province, Raid al-Jubouri, who spoke by phone on Iraqi television. Al-Ameri said DNA tests would be performed to confirm Al-Douri’s identity.
Al-Ameri’s militia is a predominantly Shiite fighting group that worked with Iraqi troops earlier this month to liberate the Iraqi city of Tikrit from ISIS.