04/04/2006, 00.00
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Saddam to face new charges of massacring Kurds

The Attorney General is charging him with the Anfal campaign between 1987 and 1988, which included gas bombings.

Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – "Operation Anfal" between 1987 and 1988 saw the gassing to death of around 5,000 Kurds in the village of Halabja, the destruction of hundreds of villages and the deportation of thousands of people. The Kurds say more than 180,000 people were killed in the operation. This is the new accusation that will be brought against Saddam Hussein, said chief Attorney General, Jaafar al Moussawi, in Baghdad.

Moussawi did not specify when the charge would be brought against Saddam, but the court trying the former Iraqi dictator should give details shortly.

More than eight people are under investigation for their role in Operation Anfal, among them Saddam's cousin, Ali Hassan al Majid, better known as "Chemical Ali", the former Defence Minister Sultan Hashim and Saber al Douri, the head of the secret services at the time the killings took place.

The ex dictator is currently charged with the killing of Shiites in an offensive launched against Dujail city in 1982. It is the first of dozens of charges brought against Saddam and his clan.

Moussawi said the court may be closed to prepare for the Dujail case, complicated by the resignation of the head of the court, the killing of two lawyers of the defence, the boycott and invectives of Saddam, who risks hanging if found guilty.

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