An Iraqi general and cousin of former dictator Saddam Hussein, Ali Hassan al-Majeed, known widely as “Chemical Ali,” was hanged yesterday, having received four death sentences. “Gen. Majeed, 68, received his final sentence Jan. 17 for his most notorious offense: the March 1988 chemical-weapons attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja in northeastern Iraq. An estimated 5,000 Kurds died and as many as 10,000 others were injured when Iraqi aircraft dropped a variety of chemical bombs containing mustard gas, nerve gas and other toxic agents. It was the deadliest chemical attack against civilians in history. Authorities delayed carrying out Gen. Majeed’s three previous convictions in part so that survivors of the Halabja attack could have their day in court. The hanging of the man also known as the ‘Butcher of Kurdistan’ set off rejoicing in Iraq’s Kurdish region and among Kurdish politicians in Baghdad. Over nearly three decades as the right-hand man of Hussein, the former Iraqi dictator who was executed in December 2006, Gen. Majeed earned a reputation for exceptional ruthlessness in a regime known for its brutality.”
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