Jordan Baathists pledge loyalty to Saddam deputy

A previously unknown group of Iraqi Baathists pledged allegiance to Saddam Hussein's fugitive deputy Izzat Ibrahim and named him the "legitimate president of Iraq," a statement issued by the group said Sunday. The statement was distributed in Amman at the Jordan branch of Saddam's Baath party where dozens of people came to pay condolences for the former president who was hanged to death Saturday. The statement was apparently sent from the Baath party in Baghdad. "In the name of Baghdad's Citizens Gathering, we pledge allegiance to Gen. Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri as the legitimate president of Iraq and the chief of the armed forces," said the statement. Ibrahim, Saddam's former deputy and now a fugitive with a US$10 million (€7.59 million) bounty on his head, has not been seen since the fall of Saddam's regime in April 2003. He is believed to be leading Baathists participating in the insurgency that has left thousands of US and allied troops dead.