Tariq Aziz, Saddam confidante, dies at 79

NASIRIYAH, Iraq, June 5 (UPI) — Tariq Aziz, Iraqi Foreign Minister during Saddam Hussein’s regime, died Friday at 79, officials confirmed.

He died in a Nasiriyah, Iraq, hospital, when he was transferred from prison. Aziz was sentenced to death in 2010 after he was found guilty of “deliberate murder and crimes against humanity” in a 1980’s crackdown on religious political parties. His government was overthrown in 2003 by an international alliance led by the United States, and he turned himself over to U.S. custody.

On a celebrated deck of playing cards the Pentagon issued to help U.S. troops identify targets, identifying the regime’s most wanted members. Aziz was the eight of spades.

Although a cause of death was not announced, he suffered from heart and respiratory issues, diabetes and high blood pressure. Iraqi officials said he had a heart attack Thursday.

Because Hussein feared traveling outside Iraq, Aziz was the international face of the government, as well as foreign minister, prime minister, leader of the Baath political party and close advisor to Hussein.


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