Unconfirmed accounts in the Iraqi media are reporting that Saddam’s Hussein’s second in command, Izzat al-Douri, has been killed in the Hamrin mountains north of the city of Tikrit. Al-Douri has long been in hiding since the 2003 invasion of Iraq and was the highest ranking Baath party member to escape capture by coalition forces. He also became one of the major power players behind ISIS, partially emerging from the shadows as he manipulated the so-called “Islamist” movement while he real goal was a return to power by the Baath party members.
Al-Douri was previously reported to be working with ISIS in Tikrit, which was recently re-captured from ISIS by Iranian-back Shia militias. The final confirmation of al-Douri’s death will come with analysis of bio-metrics. For now, it is important to proceed with caution, but the death of al-Douri would be a much larger blow to ISIS than the killing of some faux leader like Al-Baghdadi.