A former top aide to Saddam Hussein, Izzat al-Douri, has reportedly been killed in the Sunni heartland in northern Iraq, the governor of Salahuddin province told al-Arabiya TV. The governor said he was killed in fighting with Iraqi forces near Hamreen, in Irbil province in the north. If confirmed, al-Douri’s death would end one of the longest manhunts of the Iraq War, with the “King of Clubs” finally crossed off the U.S. kill or capture list, although he has been reported killed several times in the past. Additional reports say that his body is being taken to Baghdad for DNA testing. It’s unclear, however, how his death might affect the war against ISIS. There have been conflicting reports of al-Douri and his militia, the Naqshbandi Order, working with—as well as against—ISIS. His group has deep ties to the Sunni tribes in Anbar province, and it was thought the Naqshbandi Order could have served as a kind of bridge between ISIS and the tribes. Photos purporting to be the dead al-Douri show him with his signature red facial hair, but the familiar mustache is replaced by a more militant beard. Before the U.S. invasion led him into hiding, Douri served as the vice chairman of Saddam Hussein’s Revolutionary Command Council.
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