Last updated: 18 April, 2013

Iraqi forces come up empty in search for Saddam-era vice president

Iraqi security forces have carried out an ultimately unsuccessful hunt for the highest-ranking member of Saddam Hussein’s regime still on the run, the deputy interior minister told AFP on Thursday.

Authorities received information that Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri was hiding out in the town of Dur, north of Baghdad, and launched a cordon and search operation but did not find him.

“Yesterday (Wednesday) evening, we received information that he (Duri) is in Dur, and we cordoned off the area,” Adnan al-Assadi said, adding that security forces based in Salaheddin province, where Dur is located, “launched a search operation but we did not find him.”

Duri, 70, was Saddam’s vice president and has in the past year made rare public pronouncements, typically via videos uploaded to YouTube, most recently on January 4.

The Baath party, the ruling party in Saddam’s Iraq, said Duri, the king of clubs in the US deck of cards showing the most-wanted members of Saddam’s regime, had died in 2005, but audio messages attributed to him were broadcast in 2006, 2008 and 2010, in addition to an April 2012 video.