Izzat Douri with former dictator Saddam Hussein.Reuters file photo.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraq’s Ministry of Health announced Friday the country lacks the DNA sample of needed to determine if a dead body is that of Izzat Ibrahim-Douri, the once-powerful confidant of Saddam Hussein.
“We have the DNA sample of the dead body but we haven’t been able to find a DNA sample of Izzat Douri at the present time,” the ministry announced in a statement released Friday.
Douri, the man pictured as the King of Clubs in the infamous US deck of cards of most-wanted Iraqis, was reportedly killed by Iraqi forces on April 17. The death was immediately confirmed by Salahaddin Governor Raed al-Jabouri, but the outlawed Baathist Party, which has been led by Douri since the death of Saddam, denied the report.
The purported corpse of Douri was shipped to Baghdad shortly after the announcement of his alleged death, which was picked up by major news agencies around the world. After the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the US put out a $10 million reward for his death or capture, but the man known as the "Red Skull of Baghdad" eluded capture for more than a decade.
“Further efforts will be made to achieve a DNA result,” said the ministry.
Douri, believed to be 72 years old, assisted in the 1968 coup that brought Saddam to power. He is believed to have been heavily involved in the long-running Sunni insurgency against the Shia-led government of Iraq. His ties to Islamic State are unclear.