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Saddam Hussein loyalist is killed, officials report

 
Associated Press
Associated Press
Published April 18, 2015

Iraq

Saddam Hussein loyalist is killed, officials report

Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, a fugitive confidant of former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein who helped spearhead a deadly insurgency against U.S. troops and later formed an alliance with Islamic State militants, was shot dead Friday by security forces near Tikrit, Iraqi officials said. Al-Douri, a former general known for his trademark ginger mustache and black beret, was dubbed the king of clubs in the deck of playing cards that the Pentagon issued to identify the most-wanted members of Hussein's government. News of al-Douri's death has been announced several times by different authorities over the years, and officials cautioned that confirmation would not come until DNA testing had been conducted. He was the last surviving member of Hussein's inner circle. The Tikrit area was the hometown of both men.

Boston

Bomb victim's parents oppose death penalty

The parents of the youngest victim of the Boston Marathon bombing are urging federal authorities to consider taking the death penalty off the table for the man convicted in the case. Bill and Denise Richard, whose 8-year-old son, Martin, was one of three people killed by the April 2013 explosions, said in an open letter to the Justice Department that sentencing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death "could bring years of appeals and prolong reliving the most painful day of our lives." Their letter was printed Friday on the front page of the Boston Globe.

Italy

20 burn victims saved amid migrant exodus

The flow of migrants fleeing instability in Libya brought a new horror on Friday: The discovery of 20 migrants adrift at sea who had suffered grave burn injuries in a cooking gas explosion before departing Libya, and then were forced onto a smuggler's boat without treatment. Italian ships have picked up 10,000 people, many of them refugees of war and persecution, over the past week, an unprecedented number in such a short period. The influx is putting pressure on Italy's shelter system and raising calls for a better response to the emergency.

Elsewhere

Duncan, Okla.: An Oklahoma teenager whose attorney said he only meant to scare an Australian college baseball player by firing a shot at him was convicted Friday of first-degree murder. The Stephens County jury found Chancey Allen Luna guilty in the Aug. 16, 2013, death of Christopher Lane, 22, who was shot in the back while jogging along a city street in Duncan.

Fresno, Calif: A large gas pipeline exploded into a tower of fire Friday in Central California, closing both directions of heavily traveled Highway 99 and injuring at least 11 people, four of them critically, authorities said.

Times wires

Workers clean up after a semitrailer truck filled with over 400 beehives overturned Friday on Interstate 5 in Lynnwood, Wash. The truck tipped on its side, dumping about 13.7 million bees, authorities said. The driver was okay. Some bees were killed for safety reasons.