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Middle East

Prisoner is not Saddam's deputy say Iraqi officials

Medical tests have shown that a man being held in Iraqi custody is not former president Saddam Hussein's deputy, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, Interior Ministry spokesman Sabah Kadhim said today.

"The required tests to identify him showed he is not Izzat al-Douri," Kadhim told The Associated Press.

Kadhim said the man being held is related to al-Douri.

Iraqi officials on Sunday said they had nabbed al-Douri during a shootout north of Baghdad, but later in the day the Iraqi defense minister said word of his arrest was "baseless." US military commanders had also been unable to confirm his arrest.

American officials believe that al-Douri - Saddam's former right-hand man - is playing an organising role in the 16-month insurgency that has plagued U.S. forces here.