Iraqi security forces are closing in on Izzat Ibrahim al - Douri, the most senior member of the inner circle of former dictator Saddam Hussein.
In an early morning raid, Iraqi Special Forces, backed by helicopters, searched for Douri in villages around the former dictator’s homeland of Tikrit, north of Baghdad. Security officers involved in the Douri operation said they believed he moved between Tikrit and the villages of Dour and Hawija. One security source said Douri had visited Sunni extremist demonstrators in Tikrit before he went to Dour where he has supporters and owns a villa. "We have solid information that he is in Dour since last night, now we have closed the area, announced a curfew and are searching house by house," Reuters quoted a senior security officer as saying. The 70-year-old Douri, who served as the vice-chairman of Saddam’s ruling Revolutionary Command Council and currently leads the outlawed Ba’ath Party, was believed to be living outside Iraq, possibly in Qatar. He was last seen in a video released in January, encouraging Sunni extremist groups to revolt against the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.