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World Briefing / IRAQ

'Chemical Ali' defends actions

June 16, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

A cousin and top deputy of executed former President Saddam Hussein denied opening fire on Iraqi civilians during a Shiite uprising in 1991 but acknowledged executing an Iranian national accused of sabotage.

Ali Hassan Majid is known as "Chemical Ali" for ordering poison gas attacks on Kurds, a crime for which he has been sentenced to death.

He is among 15 Hussein-era officials on trial for the 1991 crackdown that led to the killing of tens of thousands of Shiite Muslims.

Majid disputed witness accounts that he and Iraqi soldiers opened fire on peaceful Shiite protesters in Basra, saying he targeted gunmen.

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