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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Deaths Touch Off Clashes in Iraq, Reports Say

AMMAN, Jordan -- Iraqi opposition figures said Tuesday that clashes have broken out between forces loyal to President Saddam Hussein and relatives of the two former defectors killed last week in Baghdad.


None of the reports could be independently confirmed and a journalist contacted by telephone in the Iraqi capital Baghdad described the city as quiet Tuesday with no reports of unrest.


Iraq's official media issued no statements on the swirl of rumors emanating from several capitals in the region.


But an opposition leader was cited by Iran's official news agency as saying fighting broke out between Iraqi forces and relatives of the slain defectors, sons-in-law of Saddam who had recently returned to Iraq after six months of self-imposed exile in Jordan.


Adel Ibrahim, a spokesman for the Iraqi Embassy in Jordan, denied the reported clashes and said: "These are merely rumors and they are not true."


However, Ayatollah Mohammad Bakr Hakim, head of the opposition Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution of Iraq, said there were a series of armed struggles in the capital Baghdad late Monday, including one fight near the presidential palace.


He described the situation as "turbulent," according to Iran's official news agency. Hakim made his remarks from his exile base in Tehran, Iran.


He also claimed there was fighting between pro-Saddam forces and relatives of the slain defectors in Saddam's hometown of Tikrit, north of Baghdad. Hakim said there were a large number of casualties on both sides in the Tikrit fighting, but he gave no figures.


The opposition groups said the alleged clashes were sparked by Friday's killing of Hussein Kamel al-Majid and Saddam Kamel al-Majid, Saddam's sons-in-law who had once been high-ranking government officials.


The two brothers were gunned down in a battle with members of their clan, or extended family, who were angered that they dishonored the family, according to Iraq's official media.