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Iraq on Monday executed Ali Hassan al-Majeed, the Saddam Hussein henchman widely known as "Chemical Ali", for crimes against humanity, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said.

"The death sentence against Ali Hassan al-Majeed has been carried out," Dabbagh said.

Majeed, a cousin of Saddam's who earned his nickname because of his use of poison gas, was executed by hanging, the government said in a statement.

He had received four death sentences, the last about a week ago for an attack on the Iraqi Kurdish town of Halabja in which thousands were killed.

Dabbagh said in a statement that Majeed was not subjected to any abuse during the execution, unlike when Saddam was hanged in December 2006.

In his first sentence in 2007 the Judge convicted al-Majid of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for ordering army and security services to use chemical weapons in a large-scale offensive that killed or mained 180,000 Kurds in a 1980s scorched-earth campaign.

Kurds welcomed the copnviction as their chance to taste vengeance, although the case did not deal with the most notorious gassing - the March 1988 attack on the northern city of Halabja that killed an estimated 5,000 Kurds.

Two other former regime officials were lso sentenced to death in the original trial three years ago, one of whom was former Iraqi Defense Minister Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Tai and former Deputy Director of Operations for the Iraqi Armed Forces, Hussein Rashid Mohammed.