Page last updated at 18:26 GMT, Tuesday, 15 July 2008 19:26 UK

'Saddam's deputy' in anti-US call

Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri
The US blames Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri for attacks on its troops

A message purported to be from the fugitive deputy of executed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has called on insurgents to make a final push against US forces.

The message attributed to Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri urged Iraqi fighters to "make this year... decisive for victory".

The message also called on US President George W Bush to "come clean about the scale of US losses".

Ibrahim is the most senior member of Saddam Hussein's regime still at large.

The message, aired by Dubai-based satellite broadcaster Al-Arabiya and reported by the AFP news agency, urged Iraqi insurgents to "strike the enemy everywhere".

It also called on President Bush to "end an experiment that has now lasted more than five years".

Mr al-Duri was Saddam Hussein's number two in Iraq's decision-making Revolutionary Command Council, and has had a $10m price on his head since November 2003.

Hidden funds

US military chiefs have accused him of being the paymaster of many attacks on their troops.

They say he has access to Saddam's hidden stashes of cash with which he pays jobless Iraqis to fight in the insurgency.

Thousands of US troops have taken part in the search for him.

In September 2007, former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi told Al-Arabiya that he had organised secret meetings between US officials and envoys of Mr al-Duri.

Mr Allawi said that he had taken part in some of the meetings, which involved members of Saddam's banned Baath party now headed by Mr al-Duri.

Ordinary Iraqis nicknamed Mr al-Duri the "iceman" because he once sold blocks of ice on the streets of the northern city of Mosul, AFP said.

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