Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane on Tuessday reassured the public that student l.
BAGHDAD - Even in Saddam Hussein's ruthless regime, "Chemical Ali" stood apart, notable for his role in gassing 5 000 people in a Kurdish village - the deadliest chemical weapons attack ever against civilians.
Ali Hassan al-Majid was hanged on Monday, leaving a notorious legacy that stamped Saddam's regime as capable of unimaginable cruelty and brought unsettling questions about Iraq's stockpiles of poison gas and whether it could unleash them again.
The poison gas clouds that struck the village of Halabja began what would become an about-face by Washington - which had supported Saddam during the eight-year war against Iran's new Islamic state in the 1980s, but soon became his arch-foe and protector of the Kurds in their northern enclave.
"I want to kiss the hangman's rope," said Kamil Mahmoud, a 40-year-old teacher who lost eight family members in the March 16 1988 attack in Iraq's Kurdish region.
Photos taken after the Halabja attack showed bodies of men, women, children and animals lying in heaps on the streets.
Al-Majid, 68, was executed about a week after he received his fourth death sentence since facing Iraqi courts after the fall of Saddam. He was one of the last high-profile members of the former Sunni-led regime still on trial in Iraq.
The only public record of the execution so far are two photos shown briefly on state TV - one of him wearing red prison coveralls and the other of him on the gallows with a black hood over his head. The mood was far more controlled than the taunting reported at Saddam's hanging in December 2006.
Iraq's government spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh gave no other details of the execution. But that didn't stop speculation that three deadly suicide attacks in Baghdad - just before the official announcement of the death - could have been retaliation for the act.
Al-Majid, who bore a striking resemblance to Saddam, carried out some of the regime's bloodiest missions.
In 1988, as the Iran-Iraq war was winding down, al-Majid commanded a scorched-earth campaign known as Anfal to wipe out a Kurdish rebellion in the north. An estimated 100000 people - most of them civilians - were killed over less than a year after Saddam suspected the non-Arab Kurds of siding with Persian Iran during the war. But it was the Halabja attack that riveted the world's attention.
He led a sweeping campaign, crushing a Shiite uprising in southern Iraq after Saddam's military was driven from Kuwait in 1991.
Al-Majid was a warrant officer and motorcycle messenger in the army before Saddam's Baath party took power in a 1968 coup.
He was promoted to general and served as defence minister from 1991 to 1995, as well as a regional party leader. -Sapa-AP