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'Chemical Ali' in U.S. custody

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Gen. Ali Hassan al-Majeed, also known as "Chemical Ali," had been reported killed in April

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DOHA, Qatar (CNN) -- Ali Hassan al-Majid, the Iraqi general known as "Chemical Ali," is in U.S. custody, military officials tell CNN.

Al-Majid, Saddam Hussein's cousin and the man blamed for ordering a deadly chemical weapons attack against the Kurds in 1988, is the fifth most-wanted man in the U.S. deck of cards -- dubbed the king of spades.

The general was taken into custody several days ago, the military said.

Al-Majid acted as presidential adviser, as well as being commander of the Baath Party Regional Command, member of the Revolutionary Command Council, and head of the Central Workers Bureau in Saddam Hussein's regime.

During the war, he was reported to have been killed in a coalition air attack on his house in the southern city of Basra, after it took a direct hit.

Capt. Al Lockwood, a spokesman for the British military at U.S. Central Command, said in early April that the body of al-Majeed had been found.

British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon said at the time there were "indications that that is the case," although he said he could not absolutely confirm it.

"We believe that the reign of terror of Chemical Ali has come to an end," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had told reporters.

Gen. Richard Myers, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said simply, "We believe we were successful with that strike."

About 5,000 Kurds are believed to have died in the chemical attacks in the late 1980s.


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