Tampa, Florida; 21 August 2003 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. Central Command today said it has in custody Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as "Chemical Ali," a cousin of Saddam Hussein and former Iraqi commander. The command said in a statement that al-Majid is in the custody of U.S. forces. No further details were provided.
Al-Majid earned the name "Chemical Ali" for ordering chemical attacks in 1988 that killed thousands of Kurds in northern Iraq.
U.S. officials at first assumed al-Majid was killed in April in an airstrike on a house in southern Iraq during the U.S.-led war. But in June, U.S. General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said interrogations of Iraqi prisoners suggested that al-Majid may be alive.
Al-Majid was number 5 on the U.S. list of 55 most-wanted former Iraqi officials. He was governor of Kuwait during the 1990-91 occupation by Iraq forces. He also served as Iraqi minister of defense from 1991-95.
For a biography of al-Majid, see Biographical Sketch of 'Chemical Ali'