Tariq Aziz's body 'returned' after being snatched by militants

Tariq Aziz's body 'returned' after being snatched by militants
The body of Saddam Hussein's former number two has reportedly been retrieved - but its current location remains unclear.
2 min read
12 June, 2015
The current location of Tariq Aziz's body is uncertain [Getty]

The body of Tariq Aziz, Iraq's deputy prime minister under Saddam Hussein, has reportedly been retrieved after it was snatched at gunpoint from Baghdad airport.

The corpse was stolen by a group allied to the Popular Mobilisation umbrella militia, a senior source in the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority told al-Araby al-Jadeed.

The armed men reportedly broke into the airport cargo section in SUVs to seize the mortal remains of the man who was once Iraq's top diplomat, minutes before the corpse was due to be loaded onto a Royal Jordanian plane for burial in Amman.

"The government has been able to get the body from the unidentified men who took it," Al Jazeera quoted the Aziz family lawyer as saying. "But, we don't know where the body exactly is right now or what will happen next."

There has yet been no official comment from the Iraqi or Jordanian governments on the current location of Aziz's body.

Al-Araby obtained information that the four SUVs passed through four checkpoints on the airport road without being intercepted.

The source, speaking to al-Araby by phone from Baghdad Airport, said a committee from the ministries of justice and health transported Aziz's body to the airport two days after it was brought into the Yarmouk hospital in Baghdad.

The body was transported under heavy guard out of fear it might be seized by militias.

The source added that none of the private security company personnel or the federal police officers intervened in the armed attack, saying the Royal Jordanian plane departed after the crew learned of the incident.

Political motives?

An Iraqi MP who asked not to be named said the SUVs had registration plates issued by the Iraqi Interior Ministry. The MP claimed the militants wore black uniforms similar to those of the Counter-Terrorism Agency set up by former Prime Minister Maliki years ago, whose members are thought to still be loyal to him.

has obtained information that indicated the four SUVs passed through no fewer than four checkpoints on the airport road without being intercepted. A source in the Iraqi police said forces from the office of the prime minister and the interior minister were looking for the vehicles.

Meanwhile, Colonel Jassem Hussein, head of security at the airport, has reportedly been detained on Abadi's orders.