Saddam Hussein's personal aide, once No. 4 on the US most-wanted list in Iraq, has been executed by hanging nearly two years after being sentenced to death for genocide.
Abid Hamid Mahmud al-Tikriti was the ace of diamonds in the US military's symbolic card deck of targeted Iraqis. Only Saddam and his two sons, Uday and Qusay ranked higher.
Tikriti, who according to CNN came from the same village as Saddam and was a distant cousin, had been in custody since 2003, when he was arrested by US Special Forces near Tikrit not long after the invasion.
Tikriti, who came from the same village as Saddam — Aujah, just outside Tikrit north of Baghdad — served as his national security adviser, seacretary and head bodyguard.
He was charged over the killings of tens of thousands of minority Kurds and majority Shias in the 1980s and 1990s, Reuters wrote, including a massacre of Shiite villagers in 1982, as well as the deaths of assassinations and unlawful detentions of rival politicians.
The US claimed Tikriti was also authorized to deploy weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the BBC reported.
Saddam's former Deputy Prime Minister Tarik Aziz and former Interior Minister Saadun Shaker are also awaiting execution, both having been sentenced to death along with Tikriti in October 2010.
The most recent high-profile execution was that of Ali Hassan al-Majid, Saddam's cousin also known as "Chemical Ali," in January 2010.
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