Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Friday, August 22, 2003

US Central Command confirms 'Chemical Ali' in Custody

US Central Command confirmed on Thursday that Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as Iraq's "Chemical Ali", is in the custody of US forces. Al-Majid earned the nickname "Chemical Ali" for being responsible for using chemical weapons against Iraqi Kurds in 1988.He ranked No. 5 in the most-wanted list of former Iraqi senior officials released by the US military.


US Central Command confirmed on Thursday that Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as Iraq's "Chemical Ali", is in the custody of US forces.

The former Iraqi official, a cousin of Iraq's former leader Saddam Hussein, was given the nickname for his role in 1988 chemical weapons attacks that killed thousands of Kurds in northern Iraq.

Al-Majid, reportedly killed in US bombardment on the southern Iraqi city of Basra, was No. 5 on the US list of most-wanted Iraqis.

Al-Majid was notorious for his instrumental role in the 1988 Anfal campaign to quell the Kurdish uprising in northern Iraq in which thousands of Kurds were killed, many of them in chemical attacks.

He was also linked to the crackdown on Shiites in southern Iraqafter their uprising following the 1991 Gulf War.

Al-Majid was governor of Kuwait during Iraq's seven-month occupation in 1990-1991, and served as Iraq's defense minister from 1991-1995.

The White House on Thursday hailed the capture of Iraqi general Ali Hassan Al-Majid, saying that the development should further convince Iraqis that Saddam Hussein's government is gone.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan, speaking to reporters while accompanying President George W. Bush on a fund-raising trip to Portland of Oregon, said the capture of Al-Majid "is another important step in going after the remnants of the former regime, and it's further reassurance to the Iraqi people that we continue to hunt down those remnants of the former regime."

McClellan said President Bush learned of the development during his regular intelligence briefing on Thursday morning.

"We continue to be on the offensive, our coalition forces, going after these remnants and going after these killers, to bring them to justice. We will continue to hunt them down and we will defeat them," said McClellan.

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